Archives For Excuses

Squirrel!

December 27, 2016 — Leave a comment

Once! Only one time have I posted in this blog this year.  Shame on me.  Something I set out to be diligent about and here we are concluding 2016 and I have simply 1 post. I am looking back and this year and am truly confused on how it went so fast!

The end of any year is always a great time to take stock of things and begin to plan out the path for the upcoming year; and for me, this year is no different.  It is hard for me to sum up 2016 in a word much less a sentence.  Heck, I don’t think I could write a book explaining this year.  From difficult closures of one season to the new beginnings of another 2016 has been scattered with so many different experiences.  When you sum them all up together, this has been one crazy year.

One thing that has become more and more obvious to me, even as I logged on to my blog to post and noticed I have only 1 entire post this year, is how easily distracted we can become.

My life sometimes looks just like the silly dog in the movie “Up”.  I can be so easily distracted by a squirrel.  Ok, for all of you who have no idea what I am talking about:

But in all seriousness, there is a great quote from C.S. Lewis that really brings it home:

“We are always falling in love or quarreling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.”

If you were to be completely honest with yourself, I am certain you can think of a time or two in your life when you have used those infamous words “the time is just not right yet for me to do _________ (fill in the blank)”

Yet, just as the wise Mr. Lewis points out, favorable conditions never come. You simply have to decide and execute.

Take going to the gym for example. I don’t care who you are, there is never a “favorable time” to go there. If I have an open hour to spare in my day, I would much rather do something I would enjoy, like drink a nice cup of coffee and perhaps eat a donut – but that will never achieve the same results.  In fact that would achieve the complete opposite result.

It has become an almost cliché saying but you have to be intentional in all areas of your life.

It starts with your focus. Be intentional about where you focus. Jesus sums it up pretty simply in Matthew 6:31-34

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own troubles.”

That set of verses is probably one of the most encouraging and also the most discouraging verses in all of the Bible.  In one sentence, Jesus is saying “hey guys, I got this covered – just focus on me” and then he ends it up with “today is going to have enough troubles of its own…”

Another way of saying it might be something like this: Today will have troubles. Tomorrow will have troubles. In fact, next week is filled with various troubles. BUT don’t focus on those, in fact don’t even focus on trying to solve them, just focus on God and He will take care of it all for you.

That to me is the hard part. Honestly, I feel like I am trying to not “bug” God with the little stuff. I know He is busy, so I figure I will take care of the little things and maybe He will appreciate that I freed up some time for Him.

Ridiculous, right? But so many of us our guilty of that. And the problem amplifies as we continue to focus on all the little things that turn into one big distraction which takes our eyes off of Him.

This world is full of distractions. Add on my 3-year-old and 1-year-old and the idea of quiet time seems about as likely as winning the lottery while never buying a ticket.

Yet, I strive to be intentional.  Do I win that battle daily…no way!  But, I wake up and try again.

It is easy to focus on Him at Christmas. It is easy to pause and realize that He is the reason for the season but in a matter of days, life picks right back up to its normal pace and it is in that moment that you need to stop and decide to be intentional about your focus, keeping it all on Him.

Here is my prayer for 2017: Lord, may I never cease to be intentional about priority number one – you. May my focus be first on the Kingdom of God and Your Righteousness. Lord, help me to discern quickly what a distraction is and know when to push it aside and recalibrate my focus.

That is my prayer for you as well; for anyone reading this, that God will be your center, your guiding light and your focus.

Together, let us make 2017 the year of Intentional Focus!

Question: What is your secret to being intentional with your time?

Past Present And Future Signpost Showing Evolution Destiny Or Aging

Let me start with the moral of the story: Your past does not dictate your potential.

In life, we are trained to believe that your accomplishments and your past define your worth. You almost always have to prove yourself before you are taken serious.

I take comfort in the fact that we are in good company.

Even Jesus had to overcome His past and in a viable sense, “prove” Himself.

And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Phillip said to him, “Come and see.” (John 1:46 NKJV)

This statement was made by one who would become a disciple. Instantly, Nathanael judged the book by its cover. Ironic that the book he was judging was the King.

Have you had that happen to you? I know I have experienced this. First impressions are key. It is said that people form their opinions within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone. Yet, they base if off of so many superficial factors: age, hair, clothes, weight…

Can anything good come from that young person?

Can anything good come from that tattooed person?

Can anything good come from that ______________ person?

Fill in the blank, take your pick. The world is asking the questions.

Of course, the devil would like you to believe the answer is no. The devil desires that you would succumb to a life of “I’m not good enough” or “Everyone has their mission, mine just isn’t that important.”

He would love for you to just resign to a life of mediocrity and passivity. A life where you don’t do anything extraordinary – much less believe that you are capable of extraordinary.

That is simply contrary to the Word:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 NKJV)

Do you believe those words today? Then it is time to rise up and live what God has placed in your heart. We are called to greatness – the only reason it can ever elude you is if you fail to take the first step to walk it out.

Everything prior to today doesn’t matter. Today is the starting point. I stand in agreement with you that when the question is asked of you, “Can anything good come from________? (insert your name) – the answer is emphatically and resoundingly, yes!

Let us show the world what Jesus intended…

Question: How do you stay encouraged to walk out your greatness?

Consistently Thankful

December 2, 2014 — 1 Comment
Photo Credit: https://openclipart.org/detail/204505/thanksgiving-dinner-family-by-j4p4n-204505

Photo Credit: Link

Thanksgiving has come and gone. All that remains are the leftovers sitting in the fridge (and the added weight from all the desserts).  I am sure that many of you spent time reflecting over the weekend about what you are thankful for.

My list is extensive. I am thankful for my amazing family. I am thankful for my wife who constantly supports and encourages me. I am thankful for our beautiful Son – a proof that God does do miracles! And, I am particularly grateful for all of the hard seasons in my life that have led me to where I am.

That last statement might sound absurd to some. Why on earth would I be thankful for hardships? Simply put, they have developed my faith and strengthened my resolve allowing me to constantly focus on the fact that God is in control – my life, after all, is His story, not mine.

This concept of rejoicing in our sufferings is one that was all too familiar to the apostles. I have read the book of Acts countless times, and somehow I always breeze past the verses like that of Acts 5:41 “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

This was not their first time being arrested and threatened.  A chapter earlier, Peter and John were arrested and released being strictly forbidden to ever speak the name of Jesus. Most people would either take heed the stern warning and follow instructions or flee from this persecution and go elsewhere. They however, pray for boldness and go about their mission. Shortly after, they are back in the temple preaching and subsequently were arrested again – although freed by an Angel in the night, they were again back in the temple teaching the next morning. They were a persistent group of people!

Acts 5 tells us of their trial and how at the conclusion they were beaten, threatened and released. We read in Acts 5:41-42

So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. 42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ

Persecution did not immobilize the apostles – it fueled them. Their version of a “bad day” was one that I hope many of us never have to endure – yet they chose to rejoice amidst their suffering. They chose Jesus over self-pity, they chose the greater story over their own story.

The realization of what Jesus has done for you should change not just your perception but your behavior. You walk away from troubles unscathed and motivated to turn any issues into testimonies for Him.

He is our All in All – He is our peace, provision, joy, strength, healing – our Everything.

So take some time to be Thankful this season for all He has brought you through – reflect on what you have become because of His greatness.

Let the trials be fuel to the burning fire inside of you to tell the story of Him this Season.

Question: How have you turned trials into rejoicing? 

Joshua_and_Caleb

In the book of Numbers we read the story about Moses sending 12 spies into the promised land. If I were to ask you to name the 10 that came back with a bad report, could you? Likely not without looking it up. But, the odds are better that you could name the 2 that did: Caleb and Joshua.

Why is that? They were all named in the Bible. Quite simply, society never remembers those that don’t think big.

There are countless truths that can be extracted from Numbers 13 and 14 and I am going to take a couple posts over the next few days to look at some of those.

First, let’s jump right into the 2nd verse of Chapter 13 where God is speaking to Moses:

“Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.” (Emphasis added)

This is simple. The spies were entering with the foreknowledge that they will be getting this land. God declared and spoke it – and since God cannot lie, it is truth.

We too are walking with the same foreknowledge today! God has already declared victory for you!

Yet, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us! (Romans 8:37 NKJV)

And that is not even the tip of the iceberg on promises from Him! If you want more, just go back in my posts – there are plenty that we talk about.

We fast forward in Numbers 13 and the spies returned after 40 days in the land of Canaan:

27 Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. (Emphasis added)

The spies all agree and verbally declare that the land is good and abundant. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there:

28Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 29The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.”

The slippery slope of self doubt and fear begins. And then, enter one of my Biblical Hero’s, Caleb to weigh in on the whole situation:

30 Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”

Caleb did not suggest putting together an attack plan or developing a strategy for a military campaign – he simply said, now is the time! When God puts something before us, I am convinced that the time to act is now – do not delay! We will always have a million reasons why something should wait until tomorrow – but just as Caleb declared – we must take the promised land that God is giving us now!

This is just the start of it all – look for the follow up on Saturday as we explore the remaining promises we can find in this story!

Question: Can you share a time when you acted in the courageous manner that Caleb did and saw God come through in an amazing way?

No More Excuses

August 23, 2012 — 2 Comments

Stop2

One thing I have really enjoyed in my career is interviewing people.  I really enjoy sitting down, asking questions and digging into their resume.  What always amazes me, is the extent that people will go to to really make themselves sound perfect.  Always trying to brush over any sign of weakness.

But how quickly that changes when it comes to something God calls us to do.  We pull out our weaknesses, our excuses and the “why we are not the right ones” or “why now is not the right time”.  We are SO fast on whipping out that list of “why-nots”.  Just look at some of the great men of the Old Testament, starting with Moses in Exodus 4:10:

Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

And then we have Gideon in Judges 6:15

So he [Gideon] said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.

These are just two of numerous examples.  Time and time again we see people move away from their calling and their destiny, simply because they felt as though they were not “good enough”.

But just as it was with both Moses and Gideon, it is with us.  God answers our doubt the same way He answered theirs!

Like He said to Moses in Exodus 4:11-12

 So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

Or to Gideon in Judges 6:14 “…Have I not sent you?”

Quite simply, it is God who made us.  He has made each individual one of us perfect for a calling. What you perceive as your weakness, God intends for glory.

Throw the doubt aside.  Listen to the voice of the Lord.  If He has called you, stop trying to negotiate with Him by explaining why now is not a good time, or why you lack the ability.

If He has called you – there is no better time than now.

Question: What is your favorite excuse you see given by someone in the Bible?