Why I’m not afraid of God.

Stone Christian CrossI grew up in a Christian  family and had a lot of exposure to God, Jesus, prayer, bible reading & Sunday school.  For several years though, during my teens, I ran from it and wanted nothing to do with Church or Christians.  I remember being in my high and lofty teens looking down on the idea of God and religion.  I thought at the time that rational thinking didn’t really support a world view with God in it.  There were too many loop holes, too many un-provable claims. I also had trouble with the example set by those I loved and trusted.  The corruption that showed up in my own family was almost too much to overcome.  I was really angry and like so many people, I was hiding behind the excuse of “Victim”.  What I didn’t really consider at the time though, was that the seeds had already been planted in my heart and were already in there, growing.  And truth be told, I had already seen too much.  I could not really deny that God existed because I had already seen Him working in my life on many occasions when I was younger.

When I first made the commitment to God for myself, I was 17 years old.  I remember praying to receive Jesus as my Lord and Savior in late October 1985.  My uncle led me and some of my friends in that life changing prayer.  I had prayed that same prayer before more than once. This time the difference was that I meant it.  I received that night with all of my heart.  When I look back I can see that I received for three reasons.

  • First was the example of my uncle.  While many of my relatives are Christians, he stepped up like no other. He showed me love and support when it seemed like I had no one else.  He was the best man I knew, and he was the real deal when it came to his faith.  As Christians, we should all aspire to be this kind of influence in the lives of others.  He has set a pretty high benchmark for me and I am committed to make sure he wasn’t wasting his time.
  • Second, I had come to the end of myself.  Everything in my life seemed to have gone wrong at once.  In my young man’s perspective, I thought I had no where to go.  I know as an adult that no distress lasts forever, but I didn’t see that then.  Rev. Marvin Yoder, the Dean of Rhema Bible Training Center while I was attending, has a saying. “Today is not a life sentence”. That’s good advise when you’re being pressed between the rock and the hard place and it seems like nothing is going right.  At that time in my life, I couldn’t see. I was stuck and didn’t have any vision.

    The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

    That’s where I was.  Without vision.  I called out to God because I was losing hope.  It’s interesting how “Open” to the idea of God people get when they are out of options.  I was no exception.  Sadly, He could have been helping all along.

  • Third was the teaching and example of my parents when I was young.  The seeds of truth about God had been planted in my heart from an early age.  It wasn’t just the teaching though, it was the example.  When I was young, my parents lived what they believed in front of me.  I saw that God was real to them and they formed and strengthened in me a reverence for God that was there even when I was trying to pretend He didn’t exist.

I didn’t fully understand what I had done that night.  All I knew was that I was serious about it.  I had a strong conviction that God was not interested in hurting me, but that He really wanted to be a part of my life. It took me years to understand that the entire Salvation plan, the whole thing, from the animal skins in the garden to the covenant with Abraham, to Jesus bleeding & dying on the cross, it was all His idea; and it was all for the purpose of bringing me closer to Him and clothing me with His goodness.  Wow!

The Bible says in Isaiah (BBE)

48:17 The Lord who takes up your cause, the Holy One of Israel, says, I am the Lord your God, who is teaching you for your profit, guiding you by the way in which you are to go.  48:18 If only you had given ear to my orders, then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness as the waves of the sea:

Very often when people see the word Profit, they immediately begin to think in terms of money & wealth building.  The word Profit used in verse 17 is the word Ya’al.     יעל  ya‛al  yaw-al’  It’s a root word in Hebrew that means to ascend with the connotation of “in a good way”. To profit.  A simple way to say it is “Increase” but not just in the financial area.  He teaches us to increase in every good way. Family, relationships, growing up spiritually, on the job, health, peace, so many areas.  Again – all His idea.  This is not man looking for God and God saying “Well, I suppose if you don’t act stupid, or embarrass me in front of the angels, I suppose you can worship me”.  No!  While we were lost and dying, He came to us.  God’s loves you and has taken up your cause. 

2 Cor 5:19 says that God is not imputing our trespasses unto us.  The word impute isn’t a word you hear very often but the Greek word used here literally means to take inventory, to count, to estimate, or to reckon.  God is not doing that to you.  Can you just imagine – clipboard in hand – “On August 22nd, 1972 at 11:34 A.M. you hit your sister.  On August 22nd 1972 at 11:36 A.M. you lied to your mother and said you didn’t hit your sister”.  No! No! Thank God, No!  His heart toward you is full of good!  He’s not taking inventory of all of the times that we’ve blown it. 

Finally, I need to point out Isaiah 48:18 though.  God is saying “If you would only listen to me…Then you would have peace like a river.  So many people think that God will do what ever He wants in our lives and they don’t understand why He doesn’t seem to get as involved as they would like Him to.  After all, He’s God! He’s all powerful.  Right?  But they fail to understand that He created us with a choice.  We can choose to reject Him.  Many do, without saying so.  They just always have to do it their way.  He says “Look!  If you would just listen to me and do what I’m telling you, man – you would have peace all up in here!  You could stack the awesomeness 5 high”.  What I want you to take away is this – God is for us, not against us.  It’s us who are usually acting as our own enemy.  We hurt ourselves when we don’t listen to His wisdom.  We think He’s trying to ruin our fun but what He’s really doing is plotting our course around disaster.  Here’s an assignment for us this week.  Daily pray Col 1:9-11 over yourself in the 1st person.

Col 1:9 b  Father, I ask you to fill me with the knowledge of your will through every kind of spiritual wisdom and insight.

Col 1:10 I ask this so that I will live the kind of life that prove I belong to you Lord. Then I will want to please you in every way as I grow in producing every kind of good work by this knowledge about You, God.

Col 1:11 I ask you to strengthen me by your glorious might with all the power I need to patiently endure everything with joy.
-(God’s Word Translation – 1st person edit)



Dad. Bug killer and so much more!

Let’s talk about Arthropods for a minute.  Hold on, it will make sense in a minute.  I know, this is the weekend.  Why the organism classification lesson?  I’ll explain but first, here’s the definition.

Arthropod  [ ˈärTHrəˌpäd ]  noun: arthropod · plural noun: arthropods.   An invertebrate animal of the large phylum Arthropoda, such as an insect, spider, or crustacean.     Powered by OxfordDictionaries · © Oxford University Press.

Arthropod comes from the Greek and it literally means “joint-footed”.  It’s a phylum classification right under Kingdom in the seven levels of organism classification.  Pretty interesting right?  Why do I bring this up?  Because this phylum falls under the area of my boot.  These are all of the things that as a dad, it’s my job to kill.  I am the last line, nay, sometimes the only line of defense against the vile creepy crawly things that make the girls in my house shriek and climb on furniture.  Have mercy! If I’m not home when a “Bug Event” happens, I get to hear all about it when I do get home; every detail right down to a vivid description of the sound of the crunch.  Things have only gotten worse since we’ve moved to a state where the spiders grow big.  It doesn’t help much that we live out of town a little and there are fields, livestock and green areas nearby.  We don’t leave the porch light on too long because it will summon so many bugs that you will undoubtedly let several in with you when you come in the house.   These are things that I don’t mind though.  I’m dad.  Most of the time, I love being the place where the buck stops and I certainly don’t have a problem with my conscience while murdering Arthropods.


One time, several years ago, our Boxer, his name was Hobbs, ate a dryer sheet or something like that.  We didn’t know about it until he went out to do his big business.  What ever it was that he ate didn’t have enough substance for his body to handle efficiently.  We looked out the back door to see our dog running around the yard with several inches of something hanging out of his nether regions. It didn’t seem to be bothering him a bit.  He wanted to come inside.  I don’t think so buddy!  After all the “Ew! Gross!” it became apparent that this was another job for the last line of defense.  Dad.  The bottom line.  The place where the buck stopped!  My first thought was, “Which pair of pliers are the cheapest and most disposable? And where are they?”  Needless to say, we got it taken care of and everyone laughs about it today.

When one has not had a good father, one must create one.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche

There are lots of icky, disgusting things that will happen in a family, with pets, children and maybe even both at the same time.  If dad is there, these things will very often be his job to deal with.  And while these are important, there are some far more important things that dad should be bringing to the table.

  1. Be an example of an honest man to your family.  I can’t stress this enough.  Your children need to know that you are telling them the truth.  They will not be able to trust you and have confidence in your word if you are in the habit of lying to them.  The reason we can trust our Heavenly Father is because His Word doesn’t break down.  He’s behind it making it come to pass.  Like God, we as fathers should be willing to do what ever it takes and to go to extraordinary lengths in order to make our word stand up.  A man and his word are inseparable.  Also, your children will model what you do more than what you say.  If you don’t want your children to be dishonest, you need to get dishonesty out of you.
  2. Be an example of integrity to your family.  The simplest definition of integrity is “Undivided” and “Whole”.  If a man has integrity, that means that he’s undivided.  He’s not moving in two directions.  He’s not a hypocrite.  He is not presenting himself one way but behind the scenes, he’s doing something else.  Integrity falls in close to honesty.  A father with integrity is an open book.
  3. Be an example of humility to your family.  I don’t think most people fully understand what humility is.  I think most people equate being humble with being weak.  This is not the truth.  True humility is being completely honest about yourself.  The bible cautions us not to think more highly of ourselves that we aught to think (Rom 12:3 KJV), but to think soberly (Greek – sophroneo = right mind).  Humility is to have a very real, undiluted understanding of who you really are, what you really can do, and what you are really responsible for.  The Bible doesn’t say that you can’t think highly of yourself, it says not to think more highly than you aught.  A man of humility will have an honest look at himself and discern what is “of himself” and what is “the grace of God”.  When we realize that our very next breath and heartbeat comes from God, we get perspective about how much of our life is only possible because of His grace & mercy.  This mindset is true humility.
  4. Be an example of submission and authority to your family.  Your family needs to see you submitting to a higher authority.  It may be how you relate and respond to your own parents, your pastor or your boss.  It helps your children have an understanding that things need to have an order, and just as you stand in submission in certain areas of your life, in others you stand in authority.  Your example in these areas will teach your children that both are necessary.  People who struggle in submitting to authority will be severely handicapped in life and work. They will be held back by their own stubbornness and arrogance.
  5. Be an example of a faithful man to your family.  Are you worthy to have others put faith in you?  A few years back I served in church with someone that would sometimes not show up.  I used to get a little frustrated because when I went to rely on them, it was a gamble as to whether they would be there or not.  They were unfaithful.  Unfaithfulness doesn’t mean that you’re not there; it means that you are not consistent and therefore can’t be fully trusted with the heavy lifting in a relationship; whether it be personal or professional.  What this person didn’t realize was that by being unfaithful, they undermined their own trustworthiness and reputation.  Even though I like them as people and enjoy fellowshipping with them, when the chips are down, I don’t call them.  Faithfulness to your family should mean that their hearts SAFELY trust in you.  Proverbs 25:19 says that confidence in an unfaithful man in a time of trouble is like a broken tooth or a foot out of joint.  In either case, you will suffer when you put pressure on them.

My dad wasn’t there to teach these things to me, but if my example shows you anything, it’s that if you trust God, you will not be deficient.  He will see to it that you get what you need.

What other things can you add to my list?  Join the conversation by leaving a comment.  Also, if this has helped you in any way and you think it might help someone else, please share it.  Also, consider signing up to my mailing list.  You can receive these posts by email and not miss one.

These Five Things Will Unlock Your Greatness At Work.

After nearly a year of working very hard to keep up with an ever-growing workload in my department, I was able to hire a new estimator.  We are all very glad to have her.  We know she is going to be an excellent addition to our department.  I began the search for our new person quite a while ago, and while going through resumes I began to give serious thought to not only what we wanted, but what we had to have in our new associate.  We wanted someone good.  That sounds over-simplified when I say it like that but it made me think in terms of my own employment history.  In my experience, what makes a good employee?

office imageI am amazed at what a small team of dedicated people can accomplish when they are all pulling in the same direction and when they all have a real passion for what they are doing.  I have had the privilege of being part of a small start-up company many years ago.  There were just a few of us.  I remember times of being at work for 31 hours straight.  Those first days I remember climbing over unpacked pallets of supplies trying to find the things I needed to accomplish the job.  The general mindset was that we could do it! We could make it work, but that if it was going to work and be successful, it was because we made it work.  These were challenging, rewarding & fun days (and nights) at work.  The air was just thick with purpose and everyone was breathing it.

What usually happens as a company grows is that in order to be efficient and profitable, standard operating procedures will be implemented.  These will help to streamline and unify the way everyone does their job so that the company can yield consistent results.  This is very important.  Great reputation and corporate good will are built on the foundation of quality and consistency.

Associates that find themselves in larger companies might find it harder to find the passion in what they do.  When your job consists of putting these nine nuts on those nine bolts before the piece moves to the next assembly line station, you may find it hard to get excited about your contribution or think that what you are doing matters.  As a result, you may find yourself just showing up, and just putting in the minimum effort to keep your job. You may be just enduring your work, barely able to make it to quitting time everyday and Sunday night is the worst time of your entire week.  It can be very challenging.  Let me just say this – a good job is always worth doing.

Bobby Unser
Desire! That’s the one secret of every man’s career. Not education. Not being born with hidden talents. Desire.

A good leader will try to build a vision into their associates and to communicate the big picture. Letting them see why their job is important, but you don’t have to wait for someone else.  You can stir yourself up and take steps to improve your situation now, on your own.

These things will help you connect with your purpose and become great at your job.

  1. Consider the end.  Who are you helping?  When I spend time thinking about some of our clients and why they are coming to us in the first place, it helps me find my purpose.  I believe in the work that some of our clients are doing. I can get my heart behind it.  Find a reason to get your heart behind what you do, then you will be self motivated.
  2. Solve problems.  One of the most important things my supervisors have looked for over the years is that they want employees that are problem solvers.  Let me clarify.  The reason I’m there in the first place is because they have a problem.  They have more of this specific work to do than they can do. I was hired to help solve that problem.  I can solve that problem at the minimum expectation or I can really invest myself and be remarkable and look for other problems to solve too.
  3. Don’t create problems.  I have yet to meet someone in the work place who has never made a mistake.  This isn’t what I’m talking about.  There are some associates that I have observed over the years that have personality traits that have consistently resulted in problems.  Norwood Bishop was the instructor for a class I took in Bible School called People Skills.  One of the things he said that stuck with me was that 99% of people that are hired are hired because of their ability to do the job or their ability to be trained.  85% of those people that are fired from the same job were fired because they couldn’t get along with people they worked with.
  4. Be correctable.  People who can’t take correction are arrogant and full of pride.  I have seen people defend behavior that they knew was wrong because they couldn’t admit that they were wrong.  Have you ever met anyone who was more interested in being right than in keeping friends?  I think we all have.  Being teachable goes a long way toward also giving you favor.  People like to help the humble. You don’t know it all and will not be right every time.  Be open to being corrected.  Think about it.  Correction means improvement.  You will be better because of it.
  5. Be Faithful.  Proverbs 25:19 says “Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint”.  Think about what that’s saying!  Have you ever had a sprained ankle or a broken bone in your foot?  You have two feet but one of them is totally useless.  It can’t hold any of the weight that you need for it to hold.  It slows you down in every way.  You can’t even put your pants on normally.  You have to move slowly around the trouble area.  A broken or abscessed tooth is the same way. You have a tooth but it can’t do any of the tooth duties that you need it to do.  It would be better not to have a sore tooth at all than to have one there and to cause massive discomfort in your whole mouth by using it.  This is what an unfaithful associate is like.  In some cases, it would be better if they weren’t there.  At least you would not be trusting them and then get left twisting in the wind.  Have you ever received help that actually became a “Do Over”?  There are some people who help best when they help somewhere else.

This is not a complete list.  These are just things that I have noticed in my years in the workforce that I have personally tried to build into myself and they have served me well.  I promise you.  If you incorporate these 5 things into your life, it will pay off for you in the long run and you’ll be happier and a better ambassador for Christ on the job. You will be the employee known for your spirit of excellence.

Dale Carnegie
Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.

What things do you value in the people you work with?  What things have you brought to your job that make you great?  Please join the conversation & leave a comment.

If this has been helpful and you think it can help someone else, please share it.

Your First Step On The Road To Success

I want to talk to the guy who’s hearts desire is to open his own transmission shop but he’s stuck working in retail.  I want to talk to the woman who’s hearts desire has always been to open a soup kitchen for the down and out but who’s just retired from manufacturing.  I want to talk to the loan assistant who’s days are filled with stress but her heart beats for the people of Kenya.  I want to talk to the corporate manager who’s dream is to help people take steps of faith.  I want to talk to you.


What are you passionate about?  When you think about your future and where you want to go, what do you see?  Is it different than where you ARE going?  When you look at yourself, what do you want to become?  Is it different than what you ARE becoming?  What are you doing about it?

I have had to ask myself those same questions.   Then I forced myself to answer them with brutal honesty.  The truth is:

  • I was waiting for someone to give me permission to make my dream come true.
  • I was waiting for someone else to care about my dream.
  • I was waiting for someone else to give me the roadmap to my dream.
  • I was waiting for someone else who knew more than I did to help me.

In all these things we see two things.  #1. I was waiting.  #2. Someone else had the keys to my dream.  In my mind, I couldn’t move forward because I didn’t have what it took to succeed.  I needed someone who knew how to get there to become interested in what I was doing & help me.  With this thinking, my dream was going to be forever out of my reach.  Why?  Because that other person, who could do all of those things, was busy making their own dream come true.

I want you to take a serious look at your dream.  What one thing can you do that would give you forward motion?  Identify one thing.  It’s probably not going to be some huge thing, but isolate just one thing that will get your dream moving.  Make it something that you actually have the ability to do for yourself, and make it something that you can do now!  Every journey begins with the first step.  Most of them are small.  It takes the first step to get to the second step.  Sometimes you can’t even see step two until you’ve taken step one, but I promise, it’s there.   Step one has to be first.  Are you ready to take it?

Make up your mind in the beginning to not allow yourself to be discouraged by the small steps.  Everyone starts at the same place.  No one is born with lots of customers.  No one is born with lots of influence.  Everyone gets to start with one customer.  One listener. One faithful supporter – and it’s usually mom.  Let your vision and your dream be your driving force.  Let it be the reason your feet find the floor every morning.  Draw your strength from the purpose in what you’re doing.

Long before you play to a full house, regardless of what your dream is, you’re going to play to a lot of empty ones.  Don’t quit.  Get your eyes checked and make sure you’ve got selective vision.  See what matters, look beyond what doesn’t.  – Jon Acuff

Give serious thought in the coming days of what needs to happen in order for you to get from here to there.  Form your plan.  Nothing is going to get done unless you make it happen but you will need a plan.  The truth is that there aren’t really any good excuses.  The things you need are available if you want them badly enough.  We are living in an unprecedented time where all of the gatekeepers are gone.  There are so many tools available to every one of us that we can make our dreams come true if we will take the initiative and stop believing the lie that we can’t do it.

A few years back I was listening to a business man talk about one of his endeavors.  He had bought a nursery.  In the same area where his nursery was located there was a well established nursery that was larger and well funded.  He went out and immediately planted 4,000 trees on his property.  in his own words “Now we looked like the 800 lb. gorilla on the block”.  People began to come into his business because he looked like he knew what he was doing.  He had committed to his course and then he pulled out all the stops.  His purpose was to be successful and he didn’t ask anyone else’s permission to go for it.    Are you ready to put your creativity to work & make your dream come true?  Now – Give yourself permission to go for it, then take your first step.  It all begins with that first step.  You need to START.  On your mark, Get set, GO!


Isn’t Fitting In Really Hard Sometimes?

IMAG0468Here’s the truth about us.  We want to be liked.  We always want to be liked.  We always, at all times, in every situation, want everyone to think the absolute best of us, period. Most of us understand and have learned to live with the fact that we will not be liked by everyone though.  We know that we’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.  What really seems to motivate us then, is that we don’t want to be disliked by anyone – ever!  Why do we want this so badly?  Why do we expend so much effort to be so pleasing to everybody?

We seem to be engineering ourselves toward what we perceive as the “middle ground”.  The place where we draw neither derision or praise.  We call it fitting in.  I think it’s because when you really look at it, fitting in isn’t really as much for being liked as it is for not being disliked.  We don’t want to draw negative attention to ourselves or be on the receiving end of other people’s scorn or contempt.  While we deeply want to be loved and accepted, we will settle for being ignored and not persecuted.  This, however, is a big problem!

Here’s a little secret about most people.  Even when they have the time to think about you, they probably aren’t.  Dale Carnegie said it like this, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”  People are almost always thinking about themselves and what’s important to them.  They spend their time working out personal problems or deciding the next move.  They are in all likelihood, not thinking of you or me at all.

Remember that a person’s name is to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.  – Dale Carnegie

Several years ago I went to lunch with a couple of friends. It was a buffet so we were all up filling our plates and I was the last person to come back to our table.  When I went to sit down, I nearly fell out of the other side of the chair.  I don’t know what happened, I mean, I sit down regularly.  I’m fairly practiced at it.  Don’t ask me how on this day, in front of all of these wonderful people out here eating lunch, I decide to forget how to sit down.  Anyway, my friends got a pretty good laugh out of it and when I finally looked up to view the crowd in the restaurant, no one was looking at me anymore.  They gave me about a second and a half of their busy time and then went on about their way.  Most of them were probably just glad it wasn’t them that goofed up that day.  I’m reasonably confident that everyone in the place could identify with how I felt.  This experience helped me. My comedy event was like a rubber ball that hit the attention of everyone in the place, and just like a rubber ball, it bounced right off again.

We all have a mask.  We call it our “normal”.  We put it on when we think the social situation requires it.  The truth is though that the “normal” is not normal.  It rarely represents who a person really is.  I tell my daughters that normal is what a person is until you get to know them.  I know that there are things about me that you may not think are normal.  Most of us are like that.  I say “most” because I have met the rare individual who really is genuine and what you see is what you get.  For the rest of us, we spend bucket loads of effort trying to get positive attention or at the very least, no negative attention in order to have some peace in our life.

The problem with our little personal conformity project is that by forming ourselves to be liked by everyone, we’re engineering out of ourselves the things that make us unique and awesome!  I was watching a documentary about Henry Ford a few days ago. He revolutionized manufacturing with the idea of forming the assembly line for making automobiles.  He got the idea from the meat processing industry.  He was able to increase production of the Model T by something like 1,200 %.  One of the things that stood out to me about Henry Ford’s thinking was that, in order to make the system successful, the parts had to be manufactured consistently and interchangeably, but so did the workers.  The system had to be engineered so that employee Bob could do employee Mike’s job if employee Mike called in sick.

The industrialization of the country created a system of thinking where it was important to fit in.  We’ve all been taught to conform very easily.  Seth Godin said it best when he said “The reason that they want you to fit in is that once you do, then they can ignore you”.  What do you think about that?  I think it’s true.  Mass marketing was created to appeal to a mass of people who all think the same way and like the same things.  Going back to Henry Ford as our example, we see that Henry Ford was not like all of the men he hired.  He was different.  He had vision and drive and a willingness to let the things that made him remarkable be the things that defined him.  Instead of trying to conform, he was using his unique gifts to stand out and be set apart.

The reason that they want you to fit in is that once you do, then they can ignore you.  – Seth Godin

You and I are remarkable and have unique things about us too.  The bible says that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  Instead of working so hard to suppress the things about you that make you who you are, leverage those things to reach into lives and help others.  You have suffered. You have lost. You have been victorious.  You have experienced trials and hardships in your life that make you uniquely qualified to speak into the lives of certain people in this world and help them.  This means that a hug from you can do more to minister healing to certain people than a hug from me would.  You are a divine gift to the world.  There are people that you are meant to love, help and lives that you are meant to touch and change .  Don’t cheat those people and sell them short by hiding your gifts or failing to act.

I want to encourage you today to stand up and let your scars be seen.  In a court room a testimony is a first person account of what happened by someone who was there and witnessed something .  In our walk, our testimony is our first person account of what God has done in our lives.

These are important for others to see because –

  1. It’s encouraging to others. People need to see that God is actively working in the lives of people who trust Him.
  2. It shows what’s possible to those who don’t know.  Many people haven’t read the bible and don’t know what’s on the menu – what’s available to them.
  3. It’s really hard to argue with and disprove your first hand account.  Discouragers and hard hearted people may try to argue with you but they are too late…you were there!

Are you ready to step up?  Someone out there is emotionally bleeding out and they need you to step up.  It’s time to take your place and do what you were uniquely designed to do!  It doesn’t have to be some earth shaking thing, just do something.  Start your forward motion and see what God does with it.  Look what He did with a little boy’s lunch.

Refuse to wait for others to recognize your potential.  Slip your life out of neutral into drive, you will be surprised where it will take you.  –  Doug Jones.

I want to take a line and just express my appreciation for you all.  I love you guys.  Thank you for reading my blog.







The Very Next Step…

stepping-outHave you ever found yourself cornered and didn’t know what to do?  Maybe you were foolish and your bad choices caught up to you or maybe you were the victim of someone else’s heartlessness. You find yourself stuck, suffering and don’t see a way out.  I know I’ve felt trapped before.

The year I graduated from high school I lost my driver’s license.  I lost it because I was uninsured and in more than one car accident.  The insurance companies for the other drivers wanted to recover damages from me that my insurance should have paid.  I was led to believe that until I paid that money I couldn’t get my license back.   My job was about 13 miles away.  I couldn’t get there in a timely manner anymore and part of my job was to make local deliveries so I was let go.  I now had a very large problem.  I couldn’t pay down any debt without a job but I couldn’t get & keep a decent paying job because I couldn’t get there.  My life sort of went on hold.  This was the last straw and it seemed like within a few days, my whole life fell apart.  I literally did not know what to do.  None of the options in front of me were good ones.  They were all bad…or so I thought.

Ben Stein
There is no sudden leap into the stratosphere. There is only advancing step by step, slowly and tortuously, up the pyramid towards your goals.

THE VERY NEXT STEP!   If you find yourself in a situation like this, the very next step is a crucial one.  The next step can mean the difference between going deeper into your situation or it could be the very first step toward the answer that you so desperately need.  Think about it.  This next move could be the defining moment that changes everything.  My problem was that I sort of shut down and took on a victim mentality.  Never mind that it was ALL my fault!

I actually stopped taking steps for a while.  I was so polarized by the size and complexity of the situation I was in that I didn’t know what to do or what questions to ask.  Don’t allow yourself to get to this point.  Sometimes no action is the worst action. You can only effectively steer a moving vehicle. Even if it starts out going the wrong direction, it can only be corrected if it’s moving.  You can’t give up.

WHERE IS GOD IN ALL OF THIS?  Psalm 25:5 (NKJ) says “Lead me in your truth, and teach me: for you are the God of my salvation; on you I wait all the day“. Isaiah 48:17 (BBE) says “The Lord who takes up your cause, the Holy One of Israel, says, I am the Lord your God, who is teaching you for your profit, guiding you by the way in which you are to go”.  I know that sometimes the pressures of life can act like blinders and all you see is the problem.  Lift your eyes.  God Himself has promised to lead you if you will listen.  He will guide you “for your profit”.  He doesn’t want you to suffer, He takes NO pleasure in it.  He wants you to have peace.  Sometimes when you’re right in the thick of the battle, it may seem like you have to take five steps before you’re close enough to even ask for help but that is not the truth.  God says in Hebrews 13:5 “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”.  You will never be out of His reach.  He says in Isaiah 59:1 (WEB) “Behold, Yahweh’s hand is not shortened, that it can’t save; neither His ear heavy, that it can’t hear”.  The separation is on our part.  We fail to look to Him for help.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The heights charm us, but the steps do not; with the mountain in our view we love to walk the plains.

THE BREAK THROUGH.   Remember, I said I stopped moving forward.  It took me a little while to start moving again.  A few years later, through many wonderful events, too many to talk about here, I was able to get a good job and even get married,  but I still didn’t have my license.  I really wanted to get this fixed but still didn’t know how.  I had however been praying about it a lot and asking specifically for wisdom to know what to do.  One night while relaxing in the bathtub (Yes, God can deal with you anywhere) the Lord began to deal with my heart.  I didn’t hear a voice or anything like that but a thought occurred to me just as clear as if I has spoken it myself.  “Have you done everything you CAN do?”  In a split second I could see that there was ONE thing that I COULD do.  I could pay the re-instatement fee.  I didn’t have the thousands of dollars it would take to clear the whole mess up, but I had the re-instatement fee.  So I paid it.  Why you may ask?  Because it was the one thing I COULD do, so I did it trusting that God would make something out of it.

A few weeks later I received a call from a very nice lady who worked for the Secretary of State’s office in the state where I lived.  She indicated that she had received a check from me and was wondering why.  I explained my whole situation to her and about paying the re-instatement fee.  She then began to give me a very detailed roadmap to fix my situation.  She told me what forms I needed and where to get them.  She told me what to do in each situation in order to get resolution.  I thanked her and hung up the phone.  I don’t remember today if I jumped around the room or not but I remember being “off the hook” excited.  I was thanking God!  To make a long story short, within two months I had my license and had about $7,000 of an $11,000 debt forgiven.  God knew exactly who I needed to talk to.  I am convinced to this day that it was a divine setup.

Step in Sand

The thing I want you to remember is this.  You are never more than one step away from the right direction.  You are never more than one step away from help.  I don’t care how dark it may appear where you are, God is not too far away!  Let Him lead you.  The very next step could be the first step toward the answer.

How can you move forward?  Even if it seems like an insignificant step, what could you do?  What example in your own life could you share to help others?  Please join the conversation by leaving a comment.





Blow the lid off of your vision!

IMAG0352My dad left our family when I was 10. After that he had very little contact with us. I’m still not really sure why, but it left me messed up. To borrow a phrase from the song “Father of Mine” by the band Everclear “I will always be weird inside, I will always be lame” was pretty much the way I lived. Having no real example of how to be a man, I became what was easy to become, kind of a directionless loser. By the time I reached 18 years of age, I had a broken heart, no job, no money, no Driver’s license, no direction and no future. THANK GOD I’m not there anymore!

What I want to talk about isn’t the tragedy of my life though, but instead to focus on the road from there to where I am today.

I wanted three main things out of life back then:

  • I wanted EVERYONE to ALWAYS AT ALL TIMES think the very best of me.
  • I wanted life to deliver up to me all of the opportunities that I would need to be rich and live on easy street. You know, to not have to sweat the small stuff…and to own a Lamborghini.
  • I didn’t want to have to work very hard for it.

After all, I was a pretty good guy. I wasn’t unnecessarily selfish or self serving. When I had to be that way (which was a lot of the time) it’s because I was proving that I was worthy of being taken seriously and that I was anyone’s equal. You know, the image of the young man with his breast swelled up, trying to stand toe to toe in conversion with men who were much more seasoned than he was. The image I have is of Eddie Haskell from “Leave it to Beaver”. That guy had a different face for nearly every person he knew. The truth though, was that I was NOT anyone’s equal. I was “Limited Edition”. You know, like Microsoft Word “Starter edition”. Not all of the wonderful features were working or available.

I had a lid over my life and I could not rise above it because I didn’t know it was there. It was a massive limit on my thinking. When I thought of nice cars, nice houses, good neighborhoods, respectable standing in the community, I was thinking of someone else’s life. The life that I knew wasn’t like that at all and I couldn’t identify with it. It was a desire, but it was a detached and kind of surreal desire and I couldn’t see myself there.

I began to think about all of the young people that I know today that find themselves in the same kind of place in their own lives. They may have a parent that is also gone or absentee. Here’s the thing though. God will not leave you without help. What I realized as I look back on my own situation is that God brought many wonderful people into my life to be examples to me and to help me. I can think right now of dozens of people who taught me, helped me and were examples for me. Some even developing deep relationships with me that we still share today. When I think about how big of an idiot I used to be, I am thankful for the patience that many of them displayed, all because God would not leave me without help.

Guess what? He didn’t leave you without help either. Ask God to bring people into your life that can teach you what you need to know. He will connect you with people who will show you where your thinking is limited and will help you develop greater vision for your own future. You will be able to see yourself going places and doing things that you could not have dreamed of before. Jeremiah 29:11 (WEB) says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says Yahweh, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you a hope and a future”. God’s plan for your life is far above your limited thinking. He will take you places that you never dreamed possible. A note of advice though. You will have to be teachable. You must make this decision now. The people God brings into your life may not always speak to you in comfortable tones and if you get easily offended, you will miss out. The truth is, you’re not perfect so decide in advance to be willing to accept correction. If you will do this, I promise you will grow.

I’m thinking right now of the people who helped me to blow the lid off of my thinking and helped me to develop greater vision. I am so thankful for each and every one of them. He will do the same for you too!

Please leave a comment & share your own examples of lifting the lid.