Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ego. Is Yours Holding You Back?

2 Kings 5:11 - But Naaman was angry and went away and said, Behold, I thought he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and heal the leper.
Ego. Has your ego ever held you back from receiving something really great? Well, here in 2 Kings 5:1-14 we read the story about Naaman. Instead of having you read the whole chapter, I'll re-cap it for you and bring you up to speed. OK? :)

Naaman was described as a "mighty man of valor." He was the commander of the army of the king of Syria. Rightfully so, he was a pretty big deal. Because of Naaman, God had given their army victory. There was one small problem. Naaman was a leper. If you haven't ever seen pictures of a person with leprosy, some have white sores all over their body, some have had limbs, fingers, toes wither up and fall off...it was not a fun disease. In the time of the Bible, lepers had to be separate from the rest of the population (even their family) so they would not spread the disease.

Let's continue... Naaman was told about a prophet who was in Samaria and this prophet could heal him of his leprosy. Naaman proceeded to let the king know about this and the king, I'm guessing due to his great service, sent a note along with much silver & gold as well as 10 changes of clothes to the king of Israel. The king of Israel was upset, because he knew he could not "heal" Naaman... but, the prophet Elisha heard of this and prepared a message to be sent to Naaman. HERE is where things get interesting.... Naaman, being such a "legend" in his time was expecting something great! Probably some big show that Elisha would perform, make a big scene like, "GOD! This man is worthy to be healed! He is a GREAT MAN! He has served your people and done great things for the kingdom upon earth! Heal this man God!" And then a "lightening" bolt from heaven would come down and Naaman would be healed. Well.... that is not what happened. Elisha did not even come to see Naaman, but only sent a message to him. The message told him to go and wash himself in the Jordan river 7 times, then he would be clean. That is when we arrive at 2 Kings 5:11. Ego. Pride. Naaman was angry! So angry that he went away.

Can you imagine.... you are given instructions that would HEAL you for being an outcast of society, but the instructions sound a bit absurd, so you just leave?! In Naaman's case, thankfully he did surround himself with people who would listen to reason. Some of Naaman's servants came near to Naaman, they urged him to rethink what he was doing. As a result, Naaman DID go down to the river, dip 7 times and was healed.

What's the take-away here? I got 2 main things....
  1. Is my ego & pride getting in the way of God's best for my life? Whether that be for healing, for my finances, my calling, books, business, family, etc. Is my pride keeping me in a place of bondage, where if I relinquished my pride, I could have victory? 
  2. Who is in my circle of influence? Do they have the insight enough to bring to my attention if I am being stupid? If I am missing the mark? Who in my life will I listen to and ARE THEY PEOPLE OF GOD? Are they people that are willing to tell me the "tough stuff" even if it's difficult to say & hear? WHO are those people?? 
If you go on to read the rest of the chapter.... there are definitely more lessons to get into that we won't today. 

Ask yourself these questions. Evaluate where you are today. Evaluate and get transparent with yourself.  Is your ego holding you back from God's best?

Monday, January 30, 2012

#240 - $1.79

Ephesians 5:4b -  ... voice your thankfulness [to God].
Proverbs 31:28a - Her children rise up and call her blessed...
Have you ever learned a simple lesson that caused your heart to melt? From the unexpected, that you just thank God for having eyes to see & ears to hear. The kind of lesson that really makes you step back and look at your own attitude & gratitude. I recently had just that kind of lesson. 

One night this week I was driving in the car with both kids running a few errands. Tyler Jr was being such a good boy and listening so well, I wanted to reward him for his obedience. As we were at our last stop, I went ahead and got him some candy. It wasn't anything too special. It was a sucker... $1.79 sucker, so it was a good one. Before we took off, I opened it up and gave it to him, and here's where the lesson began. He said, "Thank you Mommy candy. Thank you Mommy candy." For a 2 year old, he's pretty good at saying please & thank you, so I wasn't surprised to hear it. I responded with a smile, "You're welcome." Politeness can go a long way. Well, over the next 15 minutes as we drove home, periodically Tyler Junior would pipe up again and say, "Thank you Mommy candy. Thank you Mommy candy." He continued thanking me for the candy. He was really enjoying it and he kept letting me know. Each time he thanked me, my heart began to melt. That something so little as a sucker, could cause such thankfulness from my 2 year old. Each time I responded with something like, "You're welcome buddy. Mommy really appreciates you being such a good boy tonight." 

This morning as I started to journal and get into the Word, the Holy Spirit stopped me. He reminded me about how far a grateful heart could take you. True, honest, genuine gratefulness. Thankfulness. A heart of gratitude. A heart that thanks our Father for all that He has done & all that He is doing. I started thinking about ALL the many blessings I had to be thankful for. Would my Father take the same amount of pleasure if I were so verbally thankful, like Tyler Junior? Even if I thanked Him for something that I had already thanked Him for once? Would He like my thankfulness? Absolutely. I have been made in His image. As my heart melted hearing my doll baby, my 2 year old sincerely look at me and thank me for his candy probably 6-7 different times, it made me thankful that I bought it. It made me want to do more good things for him. I believe our Father is the same way. I believe our Father wants to bless us and our thankfulness causes the same response in Him. The response that says, "I just want to bless my daughter more. I want to do more for my son. His thankfulness, her thanking Me makes it all worth it. How else can I bless my child?" 

As I drove that night, I was beaming. It was worth it. I learned a great lesson in gratitude for $1.79. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Blessings of the Lord!

1 Chronicles 29:11a - My sons, do not now be negligent for the Lord has chosen YOU to stand in His presence to serve Him...
Proverbs 10:22 - The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich & He adds no sorrow with it. 
Your Father loves you! The fullness of my thoughts this morning are how much the Lord loves and wants to bless His children. Proverbs 10:22 is a frequently confessed verse in our house. The BLESSING of the Lord, IT makes rich and HE adds no sorrow with it. Sorrow is also defined in the Hebrew as "painful toil." The BLESSING makes rich! Rich in good health. Rich in finances. Rich in relationships. The BLESSING makes rich. On the back end of the blessing does not include sorrow or grief, does not include bad news. The BLESSING of the Lord is just that, it is a true blessing!

A prerequisite? Stand in His presence to serve Him! Yesterday in Proverbs 25 verse 12, the King James Version talked about an "obedient ear." In the Amplified Version, it referred to that obedient ear as, "an ear that listens and obeys."

Standing in HIS presence to serve Him. To listen to His voice. To obey. Acknowledging Him in all of our ways (Prov. 16). Like any parent, God's desire is to bless us! I can relate so much more to God now that I am a parent. Knowing how much I want to bless my children. Provide for them, do fun things with them & for them. Take them on trips. Make their rooms cool & unique. So much I have in my mind that I'd love to do for my children...and as they listen and obey, it makes me want to bring those things to reality even more!

GOD WANTS TO BLESS YOU! God's heart is bent towards wanting to bless, just like ours. We were made in HIS image. Just like we want to bless our children, HE wants to bless you!

Today... find a way to serve. Find a way to acknowledge God in each decision. Find a way to bless others. Find a way to bless God. Maybe it's just taking an extra 10 minutes... finding a quiet place over lunch and acknowledging Him, worshipping Him, thanking Him for all the blessings in your life. He desires to do more! On earth as it is in heaven! He desires for you to live on earth as you will in heaven!  To live in the blessing!

Acknowledge Him today! HE LOVES YOU! The blessings He has in store for you are GREAT!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

#239 - Look What I Can Do!

Proverbs 25:27 - It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory. (KJV)
Proverbs 25:13 - Like the cold of snow [brought from the mountains] in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to those who send him; for he refreshes the life of his masters. 
Proverbs 31:28 - Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. (AMP)   
Tyler Junior went last week to a "Mother's Morning Out" program for a few hours. When we returned home, he had a craft that we hung on the fridge. I'm still not quite sure what it is. It's a paper plate with the center cut out and streamers hanging off the bottom. It did have some "sequence" glued to it (those are long gone!) For the last week, and still, he walks by the fridge and says, "Yook Mommy! Yook!" He smiles real big with great pleasure as he shows me the craft that HE made! It is so cute to see him proud of himself. 

Thinking about this reminded me of the verse in 1 Corinthians 13:11,  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. Tyler Junior is a child. At this age, it's cute to see him "show-off" something he's done or made. He's looking for that affirmation & praise. At some point, according to 1 Corinthians 13:11, we must put away childish things. The desire to be praised surely may still be there. Everyone likes to be affirmed and praised, but as it says in Proverbs 25:27, to search for our own glory is not glory. 

I checked what the original Hebrew said about Proverbs 25:27. It referred to glory as: glory, honour, abundance, reputation, dignity, riches. To search, boast or build up our own "reputation" by showing off what we have done, in the end does not end up being "glory" at all. I reflected on Proverbs 25:13, how the messenger was refreshing to his masters. Like he was a breath or fresh air. I watch Tyler with his job and with his boss. I notice how he takes recommendations and immediately begins to apply them, how he engages himself, how he really seeks to be excellent. I can only imagine, that to his boss, this is refreshing behavior.  

Let us allow our deeds to be refreshing. Allow our accomplishments to speak for us. Like the Proverbs 31 woman, her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband praises her. 

Who's praise? Is it praise prompted by you? If you remember back in the day, on MadTV a man named Stuart. He was an adult that had the mind of a child. He jumped around saying, "Look what I can do! Look what I can do!" Who's prompting your praise? Are you saying, "Look what I can do?" Are you searching out your own praise or is the praise you receive prompted by your refreshing accomplishments? Your consistency? Keeping the house clean? Keeping the laundry up? Creating an environment of peace? Being consistent making your sales calls? Being consistent in the Word? Being excellent on your job? Are your actions prompting praise from others or is your verbal acknowledgement saying, "Look what I can do!"?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

#238 - A Billboard Kind of Vision

Proverbs 19:21 - Many plans are in a man's mind, but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand.
Proverbs 16:9 - A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.
Habakkuk 2:2-3 - And the Lord answered me and said, Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by. 3For the vision is yet for an appointed time and it hastens to the end [fulfillment]; it will not deceive or disappoint. Though it tarry, wait [earnestly] for it, because it will surely come; it will not be behindhand on its appointed day. 
Proverbs 31:16 - She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard. 
Do you have billboard kind of vision? What's your vision like? Have you driven by a billboard and ever thought, "Did they really expect me to 'get that?'"  There are so many words that as you rush by at 60 miles an hour, you may get a few of the biggest words, but that's it. Then, there are others that you drive by and they just jump out at you! It may be accompanied by a picture that draws you in to it's purpose. It may be something that tugs at your heart and you can't help but want to support the cause.

Billboard kind of vision. It starts off with having a plan. We have to have a plan. In both Proverbs 19 & 16, it talks about the MAN'S mind. It talks about the MAN having a plan. The MAN has taken time to come up with a plan. It takes time, thought, energy & FAITH to determine a plan. Then our faith shows even more when we begin to ACT on the plan. It's exciting to know that we can bounce our plan, our idea of the one who created us. HE will direct our steps. HE will direct our idea. In the end, it will HIS purpose will stand. I know a man who was given the idea to write a book. He was given the idea, the title, even what the cover was suppose to look like. After much time of not writing the book, he opened up a magazine one day and SAW that very book that he was suppose to write. It was IN PRINT! Someone else had written the book that the Holy Spirit had given him to write. The Lords purpose was for the book to come out, and the book came out.

Write the vision plainly. Do you have a Billboard kind of vision? Can you read & understand it easily & quickly when you pass by it? Do you have a sign up stating your vision? Have you written it down? Does it read, "I'm going to watch what I eat & exercise and will weigh 125 pounds by June 1st, 2012." Or is it big and bold, "125 BY JUNE 1!!!" Is your vision PLAIN & EASY to read as you pass by?

A business associate of mine told me a quote that he had heard over the weekend. It went something like this. "Below average people don't have any goals. Average people have too many goals that they can't accomplish them all. Those above average have only a few goals that they are laser focused in achieving." Which one are you? Do you have so many goals that you can't even sift through them to know what they all are? Are there things getting in the way of your goals? Like the Proverbs 31 woman, she has expanded prudently. First things first. She studies and thinks about, will taking on this "project" prohibit me from accomplishing what I need to accomplish?

It starts with a plan.

Take your plan, in prayer, run it by the Holy Spirit.

Create a VISION that is only a few words! Write it. Post it. Say it. Know it. 

Act. Act. Act. Act. - GO and make your vision a reality!


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

#237 - Strength

Good morning!  Things are getting back to normal here at the McCart home. Not "normal" quite yet.... but we're at least moving in the right direction! Due to "lack of time" this morning, I wasn't going to begin back or post anything today... but I figured I would share my short revelation and for me this morning, it was a bit of a kick in the pants. Like I shared with Alison yesterday... I do look forward to fully getting back in the groove of regular posts!
Proverbs 31:17 - She girds herself with strength [spiritual, mental, and physical fitness for her God-given task] and makes her arms strong and firm.
Strength. Quite an interesting word. Our Proverbs 31 friend girds herself with strength. Due to where life is for me right now and all of the life changes over the last 3 months (2 surgeries, adjusting to having another child, building a house, moving, family vacation, Christmas vacation, etc)... I am still excited to get back to habits that were very regular before "life" happened. As I look at the word "strength," while reading about the Proverbs 31 woman, it takes on a bit of a different meaning to me today than maybe it would have 6 months ago. I began to think about my "excuses" for not having gotten back into my regular writing schedule. I began to think about what draws from "strength" and why routines maybe have been hindered. Why maybe my alarm may go off at the "right time" in the morning... but this morning for example, every FIVE minutes for an HOUR & 45 MINUTES my alarm rang! Snooze. Snooze. Snooze. Snooze again.

So... what is my deal? I decided to read again Proverbs 31. Surely I've read it 100's of times before. But just like the Holy Spirit does, He has a way of pointing out just what you need to hear today. Just want you need to read or adjust in life today. A tweak to turn you back onto the course you should be heading. Have you heard if a pilot is traveling to a destination and according to his instruments is only a 1/2 of a degree off in the direction he's traveling, he'll NEVER get to where he wants to go. That 1/2 of a degree could potentially take him 100's of miles off course. The Holy Spirit is tweaking my 1/2 of a degree. He's getting me back on course.

Strength. What are some things that could "take away" from strength. Here are some things that were obvious things in my life, although the list is much more extensive than just these three items.

  1. Proper Eating. Sure, it's a new year. For a lot of people "proper eating" usually goes out the window over the holidays. I think is OK for a time. It's OK to splurge and enjoy yourself... but at some point, things have to get back to a normal standard of eating healthy. With the move, our closing date was pushed back 4 different times.... though I continued to pack with much of our kitchen items in boxes in the garage as we prepared to move into our new house. The more that got packed, the less options I had in food prep. Guess what that meant for the McCarts? A regular diet of pizza! Every week... maybe a couple times/week. It was easy, and less of a hassle. But again... at some point, a regular standard of a healthy diet has to come back! Now is that time!
  2. Proper Supplementation. I think we are fooling ourselves if we think we can avoid supplementing with vitamins. Most people, probably 99%+ of the population, don't eat the recommended amounts of food for our dietary needs. Even if we TRIED, we wouldn't get everything we need. From the time an orange comes off of the tree, the amount of Vitamin C diminishes DAILY, when it's not attached to the source of growth (the tree.) Knowing that, when we buy an orange in the grocery store (since most of us don't have an orange tree in our back yard), how long has that orange been off the tree?? Weeks? Maybe a month? This makes proper supplementation essential. I've been majorly dropping the ball in this area. My standard has been an all-natural company. I toured one of their farms once. It was amazing. From the time a plant is harvested to go into a supplement, it only takes ONE hour for that cherry, orange, apple, etc to begin the process of getting into supplement form. ONE HOUR!!! To me, this means I am getting the MAXIMUM amount of vitamin into my system when I take the supplement! And since I'm not a farmer, farming my own food, I get MORE of the good stuff than I would if I actually ate it! Anyways... their quality assurance is pretty amazing too. From Seed to Supplement, before it gets to my front door, it's checked 500 times to ensure quality. I was amazed at their standards of excellence! So... for me... in reference to the Proverbs 31 woman, I need to re-discipline myself about taking my vitamins! I know I have a TON more energy when I take them. I also know that I am not eating ALL of the proper food to give my body energy, so supplementing is essential! 
  3. Rest. Sleep. Have I been getting enough sleep? For me, it means, NO MORE DILLY-DALLYING before bed! Get to bed. Get done with what I need to do, and get in the bed. This may mean avoid the next Netflix episode on "24," not beginning or completing the next craft.... whatever it is. I need to get in the bed! 
So... those are some areas that I need to work on! My goal is to achieve in life what the Proverbs 31 woman does.... so I'm going to get things back together! 

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