Tired of those looks? You know the ones I mean. You feel their eyes on you. Cutting you to pieces. Burning holes into your self esteem. The glances from people who think they are the standard of excellence in every area.

Declaring themselves the judge and jury, they’re busy sizing you up on their chart. Nothing slips by their radar. Nothing is out of reach from their inspectful watch. And watch they do. Watching to see if you make a mistake. Watching to see if you are up to par.

Did you say the right thing? Did you handle the situation the right way? Are you living your life they way they deem appropriate? Are you dressing to the standards they think are acceptable? Have you put on a few pounds? Does your hair style fit your face? How bout your kids? Did you enroll them in the right after-school program? According to the judge, are you spiritual enough? Look out, cause there they go again declaring your motive or heart to be anything but right or real.

 Come on, give us a break!

Tired of it?

Want to know how you can turn the tables on them?

Yeah, you heard me. You can make this stop. I’m going to show you how to stop ’em dead in their judgmental tracks. Ready?

Here’s what you have to do:

You have to stop judging too.

You be first to stop the cycle.

What cycle?

The cycle you started in motion.

Huh?

Ok, this may be hard for you to swallow, but the real reason people judge you is because somewhere along the way, you began judging others.

Ouch!

Really?

Yep.

God says so.

Matthew 7:1 & 2, “Don’t judge others, or you will be judged. 2 You will be judged in the same way that you judge others, and the amount you give to others will be given to you.” (NCV)

I love how the Message puts this: “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging.”

Talk about a boomerang effect!

It’s plain and simple.

The buck stops with you.

You want to live in a judgement-free zone?

Then provide it for others.

It may have started years ago. So long ago, you can’t remember. You began to look at others with an inspectful eye. Maybe it was a defense mechanism. Insecure about some area of your life, you started looking for areas where you could put people down. Why? So you could look better. You need to be better at something, right? So you found a way to out-shine them. Now you look better because there’s a way you make them look bad.

Along with that, you slowly began to believe you knew more in some areas and it gave you the right to declare people “this” or “that”. You evolved into a being that was allowed to say or at least think, your two cents.

Know what? Your two cents aren’t worth crap. Oh, now, don’t get yourself in a tizzy thinking you don’t do this. Just take a look, an honest look. The facts speak for themselves, if you are being judged, then you have judged. It’s the result of your own judging. According to the Bible, you can’t get around this…unless you stop. Stop judging. You stop. Then others will stop. If you succeed, you will turn the tables.

What goes around, comes around. So if you want to stop being judged. Stop the cycle. Stop judging others. It begins with you. And how sweet it will be when it also ENDS with you!

What do you think? Yes, now I am asking for your two cents! Leave us a comment in the box below. Talk to you soon!


Two Things That Could Keep You From Praying
Over the years I’ve heard people describe desert-like experiences with God. They go on explaining their state by saying they, “Just can’t pray.” Well, what’s that all about? It means something is blocking them from connecting with God. Secretly they might even blame God for the disconnect. He’s the problem, right? He doesn’t want to hear their prayers.

Maybe that’s you too. Are you feeling like He’s…um, out to lunch? Or maybe hitting up Starbucks and He’d rather catch up with you later? Your prayers are getting hijacked. Something is blocking heaven, right? No, wait up. That something blocking your prayers is you!

It’s not God who doesn’t want to talk, it’s you, who doesn’t want to talk with God.

I’ve come to realize that when someone says they can’t pray, it really means they WON’T pray.

God says His ears are open to the prayers of the righteous. His ears are attentive to their cries. So don’t go telling me God’s the problem. Read it for yourself in 1 Peter 3:12.

We can audaciously and boldly get in His face. In Hebrews 4:16, the Bible says, “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

So what’s the REAL reason you can’t pray?

1. Maybe You Don’t Feel Worthy

If that’s true for you, then get worthy!

All it takes is telling God how sorry you are for the things that aren’t right in your life and you’re on your way.

Acts 3:19 says, “Now it’s time to change your ways! Turn to face God so he can wipe away your sins, pour out showers of blessing to refresh you, and send you the Messiah he prepared for you, namely, Jesus.” (From the Message)

Ask for forgiveness. What are you waiting for? The ball’s in your court. Spill it and soon you’ll be in God’s court.

2. Maybe You Don’t Believe

Ahh, now that’s a problem, isn’t it? Why would you ask God for anything if you don’t believe? You won’t! So, let’s fix that. This is nothing earth shattering here, but just ask God to help you believe.

I love the story in the Bible where the guy says to Jesus, “I do believe, but help me to believe more” Huh?! He believed but apparently it wasn’t enough. Been there. Done that. What I did: I asked for more belief. Guess what? God delivered. He backed up a truckload of belief into my yard and started dumping. Little by little I believed more and more. Eventually I was waist deep in belief.

Do you need more belief? Ask God for it. No shame in that. And when you do, you too, will be ready for a face to face with God.

What other challenges have you faced in prayer? Leave your comments. Talk to you soon!

If you found this helpful, you might want to read this one:                  How to Handle It When God Doesn’t Answer You                


How to Handle It When God Doesn’t Answer You
Come on, where is God when you need to know the skinny on the situation?!

Can it get any worse? You ask and ask. No reply.

Is baffled a good way to describe how you’re feeling? How about abandoned? Feeling forgotten? Do you have more questions than answers?

Maybe you’ve been thrown a curve ball, and it seems like God hasn’t even noticed. Let me help you figure out how to handle it. There is a way to press on even when God doesn’t seem to be on the scene with you. And He’s certainly not doing any talking! Read on.

1. Know there is an answer – even if you can’t figure it out.

I heard a story about a guy who was condemned to solitary confinement in a pitch-black cell. The only thing he had to occupy his mind was a marble.

This marble became his prized possession. He would throw it repeatedly against the walls. He spent hours listening to the marble as it bounced and rolled around the room. Then he would fumble around in the darkness until he found his precious toy.

One day, the prisoner threw his marble upward. But it didn’t come down. Only silence echoed through the darkness. He was deeply disturbed by the “evaporation” of the marble. And what was worse, he couldn’t explain its disappearance.

It just didn’t make sense. He could not figure it out. Finally, he went berserk, pulled out all of his hair, and died! He couldn’t handle the fact that there was no answer. No answer as to why the most precious thing in his life had been ripped away from him.

When the prison officials came to remove his body, a guard noticed something caught in a huge spider’s web in the upper corner of the room. “That’s strange, he thought, I wonder how a marble got up there?”

I’m sure you sometimes ask questions that the mind isn’t capable of answering. But valid answers always exist. You just aren’t always privy to the answer.

What can you do?

Accept that there is an answer, even if you don’t get the answer.

Here’s another thing you need to know when God doesn’t make sense:

2. Sometimes God doesn’t answer you, because even if He did, you may not understand.

My kids used to have this tiny little turtle named “Speedy.”  We’d set Speedy’s bowl down on the back porch near the pool. No lie, that silly little turtle would crawl out of his bowl and plunge into our swimming pool!

Speedy saw this big blue ocean in front of him, and he must have thought, sweet! But the little thing didn’t realize that the chlorine could damage his shell and that he would eventually become filter bait. We’d put him back in his bowl only to find him again swimming in this huge pool.

My daughter Tiffany was just a tiny 3-year old girl at the time. Tiny as she was, she thought she was going to teach him a big lesson. Tiff picked him up, looked him in the eyes, and said, “Speedy, you can’t do that. You can’t jump into the pool!”

Tyler, my son, who was 3 years older was observing all of this and he said, “Tiffany, what are you doing? Don’t you realize that turtle doesn’t get it?!”

Admit it, you don’t get what God’s saying all of the time either. In comparison to God, your kinda just like a little turtle!

Understand that you may not always understand.

I can kind of relate. As a mom, I don’t always give my kids explanations for my decisions. I don’t have to. I’m MOM! The reason I sometimes refuse to explain myself to them is because they just wouldn’t get it even if I told them. In some cases they are just too immature to understand. So I’m not going to waste my breath. Wonder if God feels the same way about us sometimes? Probably!

Isaiah 55:8 says:

My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

So there’s a third thing you can do when you don’t get answers:

3. Trust him anyway.

Have you ever seen a baby giraffe born? Probably not. Here’s how it goes down:

The mother giraffe gives birth to its young standing up, and the distance from the birth canal to the ground is about ten feet. Think of this – ten feet is approximately the height for dunking a basketball.

So the calf falls out of its mother ten feet above ground, and lands on its back. It lies there for a few moments. Then it scrambles to get its legs underneath it.

As the mother lowers her head to see the baby, she moves until she is towering directly above the calf. About a minute later comes the shocking surprise.

The mother giraffe swings her long leg out and boots her baby through the air! The calf sprawls head over heals across the ground, usually puzzled and protesting!

You might be wondering, “What’s that all about? Why would she do that to her child?”

She wants him to get up.

And if he doesn’t get up, she’s going to do it again.

Sure enough the process is repeated again and again. As the baby grows tired of trying, the mother will again kick him right off his feet.

But then the calf stands. Wobbly, but it finally stands on its little legs.

Surprisingly the mother again boots the baby into the air. Again he is flung across the ground. Wow! Wouldn’t you be astonished by a mother’s brutal treatment of her newborn calf?

She does that though so it remembers how it got back up. That’s why she knocks it down again. As the giraffe matures he learns to trust his mother’s blows…for they have strengthened him.

When God doesn’t give us answers, we need to trust him anyway. When He allows us to get knocked down, remember, He has the best in mind for us. It may seem like He’s letting life kick you around. But trust Him.

I guess the conclusion you have to come to is that God doesn’t have to give you answers…

IF you trust him!

Isaiah 40:31 (NLT) says:

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

What do you do when God doesn’t give you answers: Trust Him anyway.

How do you handle it when God doesn’t answer you? Give us your advice in the comment section.

If you liked this post, you may want to  click around on these links:

How To Reverse Murphy’s Law in Your Life

A Surefire Way to Know If Your Steps are REALLY Ordered by God

It Doesn’t Matter How Deep the Water is if You Know How to Swim


What Happens If You Get Out of Your Saltshaker
When I was a kid my grandmother had a collection of salt and pepper shakers. I’m talking 100’s of salt and pepper shakers! She had all kinds of funky designs. It cracked me up, because I knew she would never be able to use all of that salt and pepper in her lifetime. She died, and now years later, her salt and pepper collection still sits in the cabinet with salt in it.

Do you think that salt does any good sitting inside those cute little saltshakers? NOPE! Cause no one tastes the salt. No one even sees the salt. It’s useless, because it never comes out of the shakers.

There’s a Bible verse where Jesus describes believers as salt. He says in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth.” So if you’re a believer, that’s YOU.

You might be wondering why God said you are salt. It’s because salt adds flavor and salt is also a preservative. So when Jesus calls you salt, he’s saying that you are the flavor to the world around you, and you are the preservative that keeps things going.

BUT you can’t do that if you don’t get out of your saltshaker!

You might be like one of my grandmother’s saltshakers. Got a whole lot of salt inside of you but all people see is your shaker! Your shaker is on display but no one gets to tastes your salt, because you’re NOT shaking it out!

You want to make a difference in the world? Then, shake it out baby!

Oh, let me guess. You don’t think you can make a difference. I hear ya. But know what?

Even just a little bit of salt goes a long way.

You don’t need a whole tablespoon of salt for your plate of food do you? Goodness, NO! You don’t even need a teaspoon! All you need are a few sprinkles of salt to make a difference in your food. Just a tiny little shake changes the flavor.

And you…you don’t have to be this or that. You don’t have to be known or important. Big credentials, mucho influence, & lots experience are totally unnecessary.

You and the little bit you have to offer can make a big difference! A little salt goes a long, long way!

One of the biggest mistakes we can make is believing that we have nothing to shake out. That we’re not rich enough, smart enough, skilled enough, or spiritual enough. Hey, YOU’RE ENOUGH!

So don’t think that your tiny contribution to those around you doesn’t matter. Cause your SALT and even just a LITTLE BIT changes the flavor of everything around you.

When I was 17 I worked at a pizza joint. And the people I worked with cussed, drank, did drugs, had bad attitudes, and came into work late with hangovers.

When I first started working there, Guess what? They didn’t like me! Why? Because I was a different flavor. One girl asked me why I was so different. She wanted to know why I didn’t cuss and why I was so nice and respectful to everyone.

At this point, I had never said anything about Christ. But that didn’t mean I hadn’t gotten out of my saltshaker. She was tasting the flavor! And she wanted to know what it was!

Know what? After a while my coworkers decided they wanted to be flavor changers too. Some of them today, are in full time ministry. Salt changes things.

You are going to be placed in all kinds of environments that need God’s flavor.
• Work
• Home
• PTA Meetings
• Classes
• Community events
• Sports teams
• Stores
• And hey…even at red-lights ☺

You alone can change the atmosphere in a room.
You alone can make a difference at your workplace.
You alone can change the flavor in your home.

You can be the flavor changer. Now get out of your saltshaker and do your stuff!

Tell us some ways you have gotten out of your saltshaker. Comment below!


Why Saying “Stop Worrying!” Doesn’t Work & What To Do Instead
STOP WORRYING! 

Ever heard that phrase?

I’d like to smack each person who lets that sneak out of their mouth! Though they mean well, you cannot psych yourself out of worry. But let me tell you how you CAN wipe worry away. This technique really works!

I talked to a lady recently who was worried that she would never find “Mr. Right”. She convinced herself there were no more good men out there. And she thought if she did find one, he wouldn’t be interested in her. Way to sabotage yourself lady!

It took me a while, but I eventually convinced her that she needed to shift her focus from worrying toward something else. Know what? It worked. She hasn’t found “Mr. Right”, but she has stopped worrying. And she is no longer miserable. Mission accomplished!

Here’s what worrying did to that lady and what it does to YOU:

So with a list like that, why would anyone choose to worry? It’s because they don’t know what else to do. You can’t just stop worrying.  That is only the first step to wiping worry away. Most people stop there and that’s why they can’t stop worrying.

The second step is this: You have to replace worry with something else.

With what you say? Other thoughts. Here are some ideas:

  • Think about an activity that you really enjoy.
  • Distract yourself with a task.
  • Remind yourself “this” is temporary.
  • Think about God’s promises.
  • Say encouraging things to yourself like, “I am going to make it.”  “I will be ok in the end.”
  • Go over hope-filled scriptures in your head (“I can do all things through Christ because He strengthens me.” Phil 4:13)
  • Talk to someone else about their problems so your can get your mind off yours!
  • Sing a happy song.
  • Better yet, sing a Praise song!
  • Remember God’s peace is available, take it!

The best thought replacer of them all is to think about God. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

You might be thinking, “Isn’t replacing my thoughts just a way of denying what is going on?” No, God is not asking us to live in a state of denial. He is asking us to live in a state of acceptance. Accepting his peace displaces your worry.

So stop your worrying by replacing the worry with other thoughts. And the more God-thoughts, the better! If you can do this, you really will STOP WORRYING!

What do you think? If this info has helped you, let us know. Share your experiences with worry. Leave your comments below!

4 Bad Mood Busters

 

4 Bad Mood Busters

You’re in a bad mood? So what’s bugging you? Someone tick you off? Got a bill you can’t pay? Or did you just wake up that way today? It happens. Life sometimes stinks. If you’re looking for a lift, let me show you how to rise above a bad mood when it’s gripping you.

1. Focus on the Sweet Stuff

Yes, I said sweet, not sour. Oh, I know right now all you can taste is the sour and it’s really hard to get that taste out of your mouth. But let’s gargle a little and rinse it out. When you’ve got bad breath, you’re willing to let take a big slurp of mouthwash, right? In this case, you sip on some sweet thoughts and let it swish around in your mind and mouth.

Can’t find any mind-mouth wash? Let me get your started.

Mind-Mouth wash:

  • Who are 3 people who love you? List them.
  • What are 3 of your best accomplishments? Make note. Your building up speed here!
  • What are 3 things that you are looking forward to in the next few days? Mention them one by one. That was fun, right?

Now, if you can make a choice to think about the sweet things you just thought of instead of the sour stuff you were thinking about before – your mood will begin to change. I guarantee it.

Do you feel it? It’s happening already isn’t it? Is there a little smile beginning to form deep down on the inside if you? Oh, it’s coming. Wait for it. It will eventually make its way to your face. Let’s see what else you can do to bust that bad mood…

2. Find Your Thanks In Advance

Admit it, even smelly manure can be a good thing. It makes rockin fertilizer! Fertilize your mood as you look for the benefit behind the smelly stuff of life. This way, manure causes growth! Yeah baby!!!

What smells in your life right now? Here’s how to churn it into fertilizer:

You may not have the money today to pay your mortgage or rent, but you can be thankful that you have food in the fridge. What? There’s not much in there? I hear ya. You may not have the fridge stocked with food that floats your boat. Prime rib would really rock right now, huh? BUT, what IS in that fridge that you can be thankful for? A few eggs? Ok, thank God for those eggs. Leftovers from the night before? Ok, be thankful that meal stretched and you’re still feasting on it!

David talking to God in Psalm 16:2 says, “…All the good things I have are from you.” You get the point, no matter what is left in your fridge of life, thank God for what IS there. And if your fridge is empty, be thankful that you have a fridge and it’s ready to be filled up.

What are 3 things can you be thankful for today? Make a list.

I was driving down the road one day, and God asked me, “Are you going to wait till I give you everything you want before you praise me with everything you’ve got?” OUCH! I was withholding my thanks till I got what I wanted. Not good!

King David had it rough, but the guy praised God in advance. Psalm 13 starts out like this, “O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?…” but then he wakes up and smells the coffee. That chapter ends saying, “But, I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he has been so good to me.” Now wait up! See, right there, David hadn’t been rescued yet. But David, the FUTURE king, had so much faith in the FUTURE; he speaks of it in PAST tense! Like he’s already got it! Whoa Nelly! Let’s get singing about our future! Find your thanks in advance.

3. Sing Your Thanks

When I’m in a sour mood, I find I have unknowingly shut off the “happy” music. Forgetting to hit play on my CD player grants me a sinking experience. Where to? Deeper into depths of despair. What you listen to creates an atmosphere inside you. So put some positive music in your ears because the song in your heart can bust up your bad mood. Especially if its a song speaking about the wonders and the good stuff of God. And bonus, it will eventually come out of your mouth and bust up other people’s bad moods.

I have two key people in my life who are constantly humming or singing. My best friend and my assistant do this without noticing it. I love being around the both of them. There they are just going about their business, humming in the background. And when they do, a smile goes off inside of me. My hums are off key, so when I hear theirs, it’s a welcomed treat! It lifts my spirit and brightens up my inside. Shhh, they had no idea! So sing, hum, put some tune to your thanks, it will sweeten the spot you’re in.

Here’s a great link to some incredible music that will bust up that bad mood. City of Life Worship on iTunes. Download it here:    http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/city-of-life-worship/id380856332

4. Talk Your Thanks

Finding it hard to convince yourself you have it good? Some say make a mental list. I say, speak out your list. If no one’s around, talk about your thanks to yourself. Say, I am glad I have…I am thankful for… Then graduate to talking about your thanks with others. Make it known. Talking about what you have, not what you don’t will bust up your bad mood. But talking about what you don’t have will keep you in a bad mood. I’m sure you have lots of stuff to be sad about, me too. But wake up. What you give attention to is what is in front of you. What is in front of you is what’s going to lead your mood. Push aside the sad stuff by putting the glad stuff in front. Taking your thoughts captive will get that smile creeping up out of your spirit and across your face.

When you need to bust up a bad mood, hit all four of these points and your mood will change. I absolutely guarantee it!

  1. Focus on the Sweet Stuff
  2. Find Your Thanks In Advance
  3. Sing Your Thanks
  4. Talk Your Thanks

PS, I love that your smile is making its way back to your face. Looking good!

How do you bust through a bad mood? Leave your tips below:

 

What a JERK!!! It’s not fair…being wronged, being treated unkindly. Ripped off. Ripped up. Your dignity stripped away. Yep, that’s you there getting the royal treatment from a first class jerk.

Now what? Take a deep breath. Help is on the way. I’m going to show you how to handle the jerks in your life and get your sweet revenge too!

1st Step: Measure It

Measure what they took from you. Measure?! Yes, figure out how much they stole from you. Was it your reputation? How much? Was it your spot in line? How much longer did you then have to wait? Was it money? How long will it take for you to make that amount up? Was it an idea they took credit for? How much effort will it take to come up with something new and just as brilliant? What was it? Figure out what you lost, because they OWE YOU big time!

2nd Step: Cancel It

Knowing exactly what you lost…let it go. Huh?! Yes, release it. It’s gone anyway. Now you need to accept that it is gone and it can’t be replaced. Even if they tried to make it up to you, it will never be replaced with the same exact thing. So what choice do you have? They incurred a debt with you. One they will never be able to repay. So your only option is to cancel the debt. This is called forgiveness. Yes, it’s the hardest on the list. But the most important. Forgiving gives you the freedom to move on. Don’t let the jerk keep you tied up. Let em loose! Don’t be bound; you have places to go and things to do!

3rd Step: Get Praying

Pray for the jerk. Yuck! I know, I don’t like praying for people who mess with me either. I don’t want to pray for the jerks in my life because that will help them, and heck, even bless them. Why would I want to be good to someone who messed with me? Consider this little known secret: it empowers you to make a difference in their life. You get to be their game-changer. Didn’t know you were signing up for that, did ya? You can actually be the one to jerk them out of jerk mode! Get praying.

4th Step: Give Love

Love the jerk. Excuse me?! Hard to swallow, huh? But look, there’s something in it for you. God says over and over again that if you’re really mature, you will love everyone unconditionally. Now here’s the rub – unconditionally means even when they screw you over. Having a jerk is the only way to see if you have love. You love them when they are unlovable. Yes, I know, sounds like you are getting the shaft again. But passing the love test makes you more like Christ. And looking more like Christ means you’re going to receive the blessings He’s got for you. That would involve a crown, a mansion, and tons of cool stuff here on earth. I’d say loving the jerk is worth it, wouldn’t you? Love the jerk; it does you good!

5th Step: Look Good

With your eyes, get searching for some good in the jerk. Now, it’s going to take a willingness to accept that this person has some good. And ahhhh, that’s tough. You are so focused on their ugly spot, you convince yourself there are no beauty spots. Look hard my friend. You did? Look again. The beauty is there, it just takes a willing eye. Once you find it, thank God for it. I’m sure you’re wondering, ” Are you outta your mind!?” Try it, it will put you in a better mood. There’s no way you can stay mad when you are grateful.

6th Step: Shut Up

Refuse to talk badly about them. I know you really want to rake them over the coals. And yes, it seems the whole world needs to know about their jerky side. But there is an advantage to controlling your tongue. When you speak poorly of others, subconsciously people think bad of you. Negative tongue wagging lands you in a sad category according to others. Think about it, it’s true. Let it not be you!

7th Step: Pay Back

REVENGE! Now we’re talking! But here’s what you need to know: You probably can’t do as good a job at stickin it back to them as God can, so why not let God do it? He’ll blow you away with His masterfully crafted plan to make them reap what they sow. Romans 12:19 says, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,“I will take revenge; I will pay them back,”says the Lord.”

So, leave it to God, He always does a better job at pay-backs than you do, and it’s less work for you. You’ve got a guaranteed win-win here. Go get a Starbucks and prop your feet up. Let God give the hit and watch the jerk squirm, sweet deal, eh?!

There you go. You’ve learned how to handle the jerks in your life. If you pull this off, you will see that having a jerk in your life can really benefit you indeed!

Let me know if this helps. Comment below!


A Surefire Way to Know If Your Steps are REALLY Ordered by God
Have you heard someone declare that their day went exactly the way God wanted it to go because their steps are ordered of the Lord?! That’s a great thought, but do you ACTUALLY believe that we make the right decisions 100% of the time? I’m sure even those with the greatest intentions blow it a few times a day, if not more.

It cracks me up when friends say, “I didn’t expect my day to turn out like that, but it must have been meant to be.” Well, how do you know it was meant to be? Is every decision we make “meant to be”? Nope! Especially in hind sight realizing we screwed up. Just because your day went a certain way doesn’t mean it was meant to go that way! But how would you know?

Take for example, the choice to wait and hold the door open for someone instead of running full speed ahead to your car because you are late for an appointment. Or making that split second decision to take a call that comes in rather than continuing the conversation you’re having with your child. Who’s to say which was the path God ordered and which was you-ordered? Do your secret ambitions and motives play a part? Hmm. Do your hidden fears and insecurities subconsciously sway every decision you make? Yep. Does your selfishness ever get in the way from doing something that God wanted you to do? Yep again!

Look, if you are a believer, God definitely says He will order your steps. It’s a done deal. But if you don’t follow His orders, well then, you won’t be following His steps. It’s not rocket science.

We have all experienced a parent or guardian giving us direction or orders, right? Are you beginning to cringe as you think back to childhood? Remember the orders: “Go clean your room.”, “Take out the trash.”, “Make your bed.” I wonder, did you always choose obedience in following those orders? I’m guessing there were days you didn’t do as ordered. Me too! I was given orders but sometimes failed to carry them out. And then there were times direction was given but I chose to do my own thing. Same with God, He orders our steps, but that doesn’t mean we are following His orders.

As I started writing this article my iPad 2, which I am typing on, was in perfect condition. Just 2 weeks old, I had been handling it with kid gloves and taking especially good care of it. I decided to take a break and refill my coffee cup. Putting my new iPad 2 on the table beside me, I started into the house. Seconds later I heard a crash. Oh my gosh, NOOOO-OOOO!!! I ran out to the porch…and yes, I found my iPad 2 face down on the hard concrete.

Before I picked it up I said a prayer, “PLEEEEZZZZE GOD, NO DAMAGE, NO CRACKED SCREEN…” I slowly picked it up and turned it over. My heart sank. The corner was dented, the screen cracked, and I felt weak all over. All I could say was, “God?!!” Like, why? How come? Then I took a breath and thought, how stupid! How dumb of me to lay it on the table on top of my Kindle. It must have been sitting at a slight incline and within 20 seconds it slid right off the table.

So right now, as I type away on my cracked iPad screen, I’m wondering, did God really order my steps this morning? Of course He did. Did He mean for my iPad screen to crack? I don’t know. I may never know. Maybe He did. Maybe He didn’t! I do know He will turn it around for good, but that doesn’t necessarily mean He intended for it to happen.

Before I started my day, I asked for His wisdom to lead me. Before I began my tasks I asked for His direction. He seemed to be leading me. I truely believe He was. But did I make a mistake? Was my jugement clouded when I laid my iPad 2 down on top of a surface at an unseen angle? So, could that have been a step I took that God didn’t order? Probably. I may never know.

See, the decision I made not only broke my heart for a moment, it also caused me pain and a lot of other things. It will cost me time to get it repaired and it will probably cost me money. I would like to think God didn’t plan that for me because I walk in favor, right? Yes. But I know a scripture too, that says the rain falls on the just and the unjust. Even God’s children deal with disappointment and problems.

So what is a God fearing person to do to ensure their steps are in step with God’s?
Here’s what it takes:
Ask God to help you not only hear His orders, but to also help you FOLLOW His orders.
And know, even if you mess up, He’ll still be around. Look at what He promises you…

Psalms 37:23-24
23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
24 Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.

So here’s the plan – ask God to reveal His orders to you each day. Do the best you can to follow them – and most likely your steps will be the right ones!

By the way, remember my cracked iPad screen? God turned my mistake around by giving me favor…my iPad was replaced at no cost! Thank you Apple and thank you God!!

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. Leave your comments below.


Why We Need to Sweat the Small Stuff If We Want the Big Stuff
How can great leaders come out of nowhere? Ready? It’s because they have been hidden, plugging away at the small things first. Let that sink in. See, you don’t usually SEE a great leader in the making because you don’t SEE them taking care of the small stuff. The stuff behind the scenes. So when they finally do emerge, it’s like, “Hey, where did this chick come from?” “Does anyone know this guy? He seems to have come out of nowhere.” That’s right. They did come out of nowhere. They were busy taking care of the small stuff when all of a sudden heaven opened a door and BAM! They came into bigger things.

Small stuff is the stuff kings are made out of

Like King David, they’ve busied themselves for decades on the backside of a pasture, tending sheep, ankle-deep in manure, swatting flies, sweat dripping off their brow, and developing yucky yellow sweat st ains under their armpits. Then something shifts. They are given a throne. Prior they had anointing, but no crown. Now they have both. It’s because they paid the price. Majoring in the menial led to the magnificent! That small stuff is the stuff of kings.

My scary, ugly thought

I had a thought that scared the snot out of me one time. I was sitting on my back porch having a talk with God. I was tired of looking over my life and unfulfilled dreams. I actually said to God, “How come I’m more faithful to you than you are to me?!”  Whoa, I couldn’t believe I actually thought that. As soon as it shot out of my thinker, I repented. How brazen a thought! For a moment I actually believed that throughout the years, all of the ways I have been faithful, were more than how much God has been faithful to me. Yikes! How dare I think such a thing? After asking God for forgiveness, I wondered where that thought came from. Was I tired? Exhausted? Had I totally lost my mind? That’s not the right one to have! I was shocked at what was going on in my head.

Sticking with small stuff leads to the bigger better stuff

After I regrouped, I rediscovered once again, that it’s really the small things that are the big things. You may have heard of the book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff”. Great title. But for our purposes here, we really do need to sweat the small stuff. Sweating the small stuff is a guaranteed lead to the big stuff.

How do I know? The Bible tells me so. A scripture in Matthew 25 says: “You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much.” Cool! If I work my butt off taking care of the things I’d rather not, I will eventually get to do what I’d rather do! (Well, right motives and good attitude do play an important part here too, so don’t leave that out.) All this to say…playing the part that no one else sees or gives a rip about is a lead-in to something greater. There are no short cuts, so quit looking for them.

God’s watching and smiling

Allow me to toss a little something to you from the book of Zachariah. It’s found in chapter 4, verse 10: “Do not despise the day of small beginnings. The Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”

This verse helps us reframe our manure filled pasture moments. It shows us that God is not only watching, but rejoicing. He’s got his eye on you, me, and all the others as we busy ourselves with the stuff of our pre-king seasons. Let’s keep it up. Our crowns are on order and they are just about ready for wear if we will stay at it long enough.

Soon someone will see you and say, “Hey, where did YOU come from?”

Have you found this to be true? Share your comment or story below.