God Isn’t Finished With You Yet

I wrote the post “The Comeback” over a year ago and wanted to revisit it again today, especially after being inspired by Tiger Wood’s legendary comeback yesterday. Your past is not the indicator of the future God has for you; neither is the present moment. In fact, we are all in this process called life together, we just happen to be at different places in our journey. Here’s the good news:

God does not call you based on your history, He calls you based on your destiny.

When you’re faced with doubters and critics in your journey of life, keep believing. When you’re faced with setbacks, keep believing. When you’re alone and your circle of friends no longer is with you, keep believing. When you think you’re past your prime, God’s time is always better. You have to teach yourself to hope when others default to despair. You have to develop grit and deepen that passion on the inside of you. There are no gains without pains. Just keep believing. “For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity.” (Proverbs 24:16) Get back up again. Fight again. What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger if you choose.

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We are all going to come to a point in our life where “we need a fresh start, a new beginning, a spiritual turnaround, a change of direction”… we need a comeback. Comeback and underdog stories are what I love. In fact, the ultimate comeback story belongs to our Heavenly Father when He conquered death, hell, and the grave and is alive today! No matter what circumstances or situations we are facing or have experienced in the past…hope is still available to us and we can overcome through Jesus Christ. Still believe! Still trust! Here are a few appetizing points from this book I read by Louie Giglio, “The Comeback: It’s Not Too late and You’re Never Too Far.” Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

The Comeback by Louie Giglio

  • God is always good, and God’s plans will always prevail, even when our plans don’t.
  • Jesus is always there for us. He doesn’t stop healing us. He never stop forgiving us. He won’t stop restoring us. He refuses to stop loving us.
  • He melts the grip of sin and dire circumstances and leads us back to his springtime full of life and growth, productivity and beauty.
  • God isn’t finished with you yet. Jesus is a dream restorer.
  • We are in the plan of God and not the plan of men.
  • It doesn’t matter how far you’ve gone, what you’ve done,or where you’ve been. God always throws the door wide open and says, “Welcome home!”
  • His grace comes in oceanic proportions.
  • Nothing gets in the way of God’s great plan.
  • Sometimes we try so hard to cheat death, but Jesus wants us to beat death.
  • He wants us to understand our constant need for the extravagant grace of God.
  • The thing we need most is not to be perfect but to be in love with Jesus. All the condemnation already fell on Jesus.
  • We need God’s saving grace to be made alive. We need God’s transforming grace to be made alive every day.
  • There’s more at stake than what happens in your life. What’s at stake is how God wants to raise up hope in a community, a nation, and the world to the point where people look around and see what God is doing in people’s lives.
  • He is the person our hearts and souls were made for. Jesus is enough.
  • Give it away. Give God your dreams. Give God your intense feelings. Give God your little and see what he does with it.
  • We all have an ability to have a relationship with almighty God.
  • In the unpredictable places in life, we learn that the one thing we can predict is that God will come through.
  • He doesn’t want our dreams. He wants his dreams.
  • Keep doing the very best at whatever God has put in front of us.
  • God is still at work. God has not forgotten you. Your comeback will probably look different that you have imagined it, and that’s okay. Wait and believe.

 

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“Are your dreams CRAZY enough?”

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I remember as a 7th grade girl I went to my dad and told him I was going to run for the class officer secretary position. I was so elated and nervous to step out in faith for this class position that I could not wait to tell this dream to my dad. As I was explaining with excitement and energy about this role that I wanted to take on, I noticed his demeanor was not moved by my 7th grade buzz. So to pull a response out of him, I asked my dad what he thought about this next endeavor I wanted to pursue. With love in his voice and a warm embrace around my waist, I will never forget the words that came out of his mouth next. He said, “If you’re going to run for an office, why not run for president?” Stunned, I looked at him blankly. I had no answer. In fact, the response shocked me and completely shifted my thought process. Why didn’t I think of that before? If I was going to dream, why not dream big!

I look back at the scenario in my early childhood to remind me to dream crazy dreams. Moreover, our Heavenly Father is saying the same thing to us. “God is offended by anything less than your biggest dreams and your boldest prayers.” As Mark Batterson put it, “If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God…because they don’t require divine intervention.” God is waiting to move miraculously on your behalf and most importantly for His glory!

Before I got a chance to run for office, my father passed away suddenly from a fight with Leukemia. That next year I ran for class president and titled my speech, “Why not me?” I won the election and will never forget the lesson my father left me that day when I spoke to him. Our heavenly Father is welcoming the same invitation in our lives. Why not you?

So, answer this question with honesty and truth…”Are your dreams crazy enough?” If the answer is no, “then you haven’t really come to life yet.” As I was finishing up the book I was reading called “The Circle Maker,” I came across the new Nike commercial released a few days ago as well. They both echo a message that we all need to desperately grasp. Are you dreaming bold, daring, crazy dreams? Are you living your life to its fullest potential? Are you relying on and inviting God to intervene and show His faithfulness in your life? Today is the day to begin if you have not started. I encourage you to pick up the book and dive deep into the pages. Then read it a second time, and again, and again. Batterson outlines 10 practical steps to goal setting and writing down your life goal lists. Below are a few highlights I got from the book. So dream crazy big dreams. Dream daring bold dreams.

If you want, comment below on some of the dreams you are believing for in your life. Be Blessed. Be revealed!

The Circle Maker

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

  • Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers.
  • Do the best you can with what you have where you are.
  • When was the last time you pulled an all-nighter in prayer?
  • After you pray through, you need to praise through.
  • Dreaming is a form of praying and praying is a form of dreaming, The more you pray the bigger your dreams will become. And the bigger your dreams become the more you will have to pray.
  • May imagination overtake memory.
  • Circle makers are risk takers.
  • If you give beyond your ability, God will bless you beyond your ability.
  • Today could be the day. When you live in prayer mode, you live with holy anticipation.
  • I’ve never met a person who didn’t experience some big disappointments on the way to his or her big dream.
  • How desperate are you for the miracle?
  • We do know that 100 percent of the prayers we don’t pray won’t get answered.
  • Pray through the Bible.
  • Pray like it depends on God; you also have to work like it depends on you.
  • It’s the hard times that teach us how to pray.
  • What seems like an unanswered prayer means that God has a better answer.
  • Dream Big. Pray Hard. Think Long. Prayer is the inheritance we receive and the legacy we leave.
  • The only way you can fail is if you quit trying. If you’re still trying, even if you’re failing, you’re succeeding. God is honored when you don’t give up.
  • Your greatest legacy is the prayers you leave behind. It’s also your longest legacy.
  • God will still be answering your prayers long after you are long gone. And the ripple effect will only be REVEALED in eternity!

 

The Comeback

comeback 3.jpg

We are all going to come to a point in our life where “we need a fresh start, a new beginning, a spiritual turnaround, a change of direction”… we need a comeback. Comeback and underdog stories are what I love. In fact, the ultimate comeback story belongs to our Heavenly Father when He conquered death, hell, and the grave and is alive today! No matter what circumstances or situations we are facing or have experienced in the past…hope is still available to us and we can overcome through Jesus Christ. Still believe! Still trust! Here are a few appetizing points from this book I read by Louie Giglio, “The Comeback: It’s Not Too late and You’re Never Too Far.” Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

The Comeback by Louie Giglio

  • God is always good, and God’s plans will always prevail, even when our plans don’t.
  • Jesus is always there for us. He doesn’t stop healing us. He never stop forgiving us. He won’t stop restoring us. He refuses to stop loving us.
  • He melts the grip of sin and dire circumstances and leads us back to his springtime full of life and growth, productivity and beauty.
  • God isn’t finished with you yet. Jesus is a dream restorer.
  • We are in the plan of God and not the plan of men.
  • It doesn’t matter how far you’ve gone, what you’ve done,or where you’ve been. God always throws the door wide open and says, “Welcome home!”
  • His grace comes in oceanic proportions.
  • Nothing gets in the way of God’s great plan.
  • Sometimes we try so hard to cheat death, but Jesus wants us to beat death.
  • He wants us to understand our constant need for the extravagant grace of God.
  • The thing we need most is not to be perfect but to be in love with Jesus. All the condemnation already fell on Jesus.
  • We need God’s saving grace to be made alive. We need God’s transforming grace to be made alive every day.
  • There’s more at stake than what happens in your life. What’s at stake is how God wants to raise up hope in a community, a nation, and the world to the point where people look around and see what God is doing in people’s lives.
  • He is the person our hearts and souls were made for. Jesus is enough.
  • Give it away. Give God your dreams. Give God your intense feelings. Give God your little and see what he does with it.
  • We all have an ability to have a relationship with almighty God.
  • In the unpredictable places in life, we learn that the one thing we can predict is that God will come through.
  • He doesn’t want our dreams. He wants his dreams.
  • Keep doing the very best at whatever God has put in front of us.
  • God is still at work. God has not forgotten you. Your comeback will probably look different that you have imagined it, and that’s okay. Wait and believe.

 

comeback 2.png

Burden of Strength

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Photo Credit Gino Astuto Artist

There’s an invisible armor that we all tend to bear… Its superhero characteristics include the illusion that you have it all together. There is no moderation in these commendable qualities you possess. You can take care of others, be independent, put your needs aside or indicate that you do not have any to begin with. This armor of strength is your superhero mechanism to reject all forms of denial, depression, or sadness that you may feel because you have an obligation to control yourself and those around you. Nothing happens without you or without your consent. Nothing comes past this armor that you bear. Nothing…

The saddened state of this armor is that you probably did not put it on yourself. Society teaches us to be independent, strong, financially dependent, and incredibly self-sufficient. For the African-American culture, there is an epidemic of the stereotypical “Strong Black Woman” who has to dance between the image of being strong but vulnerable enough to be with an equally “Strong Black Man.” The pressures that both black woman and men face are too heavy to bear so often times it leads to a co-dependency that ultimately destroys cultural relationships and healthy authenticity. For the typical “white” culture in society, men and woman bear the armor of strength through status and hierarchy that only deepens the divide that our country has been fighting for hundreds of years. Other minority cultures bear the armor to protect themselves from being hurt and taken advantage of, which furthers the distance of reconciliation and restoration that is so desperately needed…

I’m sure you’re familiar with the story of David and Goliath. “In 1 Samuel 17, just before David goes out to face the giant, Saul tries to protect David in the best way that he knows how by dressing him in his own armor (Walker-Barnes, 2014).

” Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them: “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. – 1 Samuel 17:38-39 NIV

If we are all honest, we all have been dressed by an armor that we are not meant to bear or is not our own in some sort of fashion. We cannot allow culture and society to paint the picture of who we are supposed to be…and so like David, we need to begin the process of taking off this armor that is “too heavy a yoke to bear (Walker-Barnes, 2014).” Only then can we be free and move and discover our own identity in Christ. Even the best of the best superheros dismantled his suit and identified as human…Clark Kent to Superman and back to Clark Kent. But what does this look like for you and I?

“It is for freedom that Christ set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NIV

When we accept Christ we are no longer slaves to the things of this world, no longer slaves to the armor that it wants us to bear, and no longer slaves to the pressures that it wants us to conform to. Those yokes are heavy and will cause us to have real life issues that are detrimental to our physical health and overall well-being! Who wants to live life like that? I’ve been there and to be honest often times find myself back in a trap that wants me in bondage to bearing the heavy burden of this world, especially when it comes to trying to take care of everyone in my circle. But let me tell you what joy it is to become slaves to righteousness. God’s yoke is easy and light. God bears the yoke for us and thus we are led to freely and wholeheartedly obey the love that sets us free…Please don’t misunderstand that we are not supposed to walk around with no armor. Ephesians 6 advises us to put on the whole armor of God…we are supposed to be protected and guarded but the difference is the weight of the world’s armor will be a burden, while the weight of God’s armor will liberate you.

I have recently taken a class that addressed this issue of the burden of strength (in particular African-American woman) but I believe so many others deal with it as well. We read a book from Chanequa Walker-Barnes called “Too Heavy A Yoke: Black Woman and the Burden of Strength” and a lot of this content I wrote about comes from this book. She really does a masterful job of offering historical, social, and theological influences on why we deal with this burden of strength and even crafts practical ways in which we can begin the process to being free from these stereotypes. I will address three here that she mentions that I thought were most insightful to me. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

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  • Find a safe community or small group – Walker -Barnes speaks about becoming a part of community in which you trust and feel safe enough to “dis-armor.” We are meant to be in relationship with other people and intimately connect emotionally and spiritually. Do you have a community of close friends, small group, or safe place where you can be vulnerable and let down your guard? Also, “when you are able to demonstrate compassion for others, you learn to be compassionate toward yourself (Walker-Barnes, 2014). I often like to ask myself “who is sitting at your destiny table?” Who you associate with often determines where your future will look like in the next couple of years including your well-being.
  • Acknowledge that we are not the Divine – this is one out of the twelve steps Walker-Barnes crafts in the book but I thought was probably one the most important. There is a Power greater than ourselves who can restore to us right relationship with ourselves and others. The biggest take away is that there is hope! There is healing available to you and I if we are willing to receive it.
  • We carry this message to others – it’s one thing to get it for ourselves….but trust me there is more work to be done in generations that follow us and they need to know that they don’t have to bear a burden if they do not have to. Let’s be a generation of bridge – builders that offer hope and restoration for a better tomorrow.

 

 

 

The Dream Chaser by Tony Gaskins, Jr.

The first book to jump start this year off is a great read from Tony A. Gaskins, Jr., titled, “The Dream Chaser.” It’s certainly well worth your time and will inspire and encourage those with an entrepreneur spirit in them to keep believing in their dreams. In my own journey towards transformation, I want to share some of the insightful nuggets that stood out to me from the book. Don’t just rely on these few quotes though, go pick it up for yourself! Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

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The Dream Chaser

By: Tony A. Gaskins, Jr.

  • You have to question the path.
  • While studying in school, you should spend just as much time studying yourself.
  • Don’t sleep on your dreams. There are natural gifts inside of you that could change your life.
  • If you want to sleep through life, then get comfortable; but if you want to be great in this life, then you’ll have to stretch yourself.
  • Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not and miss out on who you can become.
  • A fantasy is rooted in pleasure. A dream is rooted in purpose.
  • Don’t wish, just work.
  • Have a vision so big that certain parts of it are blurry and it only clears up as you walk by faith toward it.
  • Don’t get caught up in the system so much that you fail to do what you were born to do. Tap into your gifts and use them to help make your life better.
  • You have to follow the calling, not the crowd.
  • How can God trust you with the world when he can’t trust you with your own home?
  • There is a lot of growth in the climb, just as there is growth in the valley.

    I guarded my eyes and my ears very closely because I was growing.

  • You can’t delegate your destiny.
  • Success is made in the oven. It takes time to become successful, and you have to work for it like there is no tomorrow.
  • It was family time and grind time.
  • Confidence comes from strength. Arrogance comes from insecurity.
  • Don’t settle for mediocre people if you aren’t a mediocre person.
  • Don’t compromise your value, your morals, or your beliefs.
  • You constantly have to be creating and innovating, whether that’s new materials or new products. You have to keep working.
  • Make it simple as possible but not one bit simpler.
  • I knew there wasn’t a downside to having self-respect.
  • Learn something about every aspect of your business, and be consistent in your gift.
  • Three C’s: Confidence, Content, and Consistency
  • When you learn how to love, you learn how to live. Your family should be your first priority.

Go Big or Go Home

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There will never be a “perfect” time but there will always be a right time to dare greatly and go after the dream in your heart. That time is now. Live a life of 100x and believe in something so grand that it will take God’s hand of favor and intervention to make it happen. There is nothing too big for God. In fact, he will surpass our wildest and biggest imaginations. I believe God is pleased with our God-sized dreams. My dad used to say to me “go big or go home!” Friends…I’m telling you the same. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

From Mark Batterson’s “Chase the Lion”

“The Lion Chaser’s Manifesto”

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death.

Run to the roar.

Set God-sized goals.

Pursue God-ordained passions.

Go after a dream that’s destined to fail unless God intervenes.

Start pointing out problems, become part of the solution.

Stop repeating the past and start creating the future.

Face your fears.

Fight for your dreams.

Grab opportunity by the mane and don’t let go.

Live like today is the first day and last day of your life.

Burn sinful bridges.

Blaze new trails.

Live for the applause of nail-scarred hands.

Don’t let what’s wrong with you keep you from worshipping what’s right with God.

Don’t try to be who you aren’t.

Be yourself.

Laugh at yourself.

Dare to fail.

Dare to dream.

Dare to be different.

Chase the Lion!

 

 

The Hidden Places Where God Develops You

This book probably couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Founder of Jesus Culture and Pastor of Jesus Culture Sacramento, Banning Liebscher, wrote his first book titled “Rooted: The Hidden Places Where God Develops You.” It spoke to my heart and I believe it can also speak to yours.

For those of you who believe that they were born to make an impact in this world and feel it deep down in their bones…this book is for you.

For those of you who have a hunger to be great and meaningful change keeps you up at night…this book is for you.

Here’s the thing…we must allow God to establish a root system and foundation in our lives so that what God develops through us will produce fruit that remains. Here are some great nuggets I picked up from reading this book. Enjoy this Appetizer! Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

Rooted

  • Everyone champions accomplishment, but not many people champion the journey. ~ Kelly Clark, Olympic medalist
  • Anybody can start a race. Finishers are impressive.
  • Unfortunately, many believers today don’t live with forty years in mind, let alone generations, or eternity.
  • Neither appearances nor short-term success impress God.
  • God always develops us before He develops our vision.
  • We’ll never thrive in the process unless we accept the place where God put us, because that is the only place He will work with us.
  • Are you more passionate about pursuing a dream or about following Jesus?
  • Do what’s in front of you, and do it well.
  • You must understand that getting out of sync with the timing of God’s seasons puts you in danger. Don’t rush.
  • If you’re not there, it’s because He doesn’t want you there yet.
  • We can trust Him with the deep things of our hearts because they are also the deep things of His heart for us.
  • God is not interested in your comfort; He is interested in your growth.
  • It’s not my responsibility to build or maintain what God opens. It’s my responsibility to follow Jesus.
  • So many people are driven by the need to prove themselves. Rest in the fact that God chose you and you have nothing to prove.
  • There are many areas where God develops your root system, but none is more important than going deep in the Word of God. The Bible Reveals.
  • Perfection is not a requirement to lead. Growth, however, is.
  • Everything you will ever need is found in the presence of God. Everything in your life must be birthed from the revelation of His love for you.
  • There is an anointing that is found only in one place. If you want to receive, you have to separate yourself to the inner room of prayer.
  • You are called to greatness. But greatness looks different than you think. If you really want to be great, here’s how you do it: become the least.
  • Love looks like serving.
  • Any increased blessing in your life is so that you can better serve others.
  • The most joyful people I know are also the greatest servants I know.
  • You were never meant to live life alone. You were meant to live in community. Isolation is a killer.
  • We do get hurt in community. But we also get healed in community. Community is where we grow. We cannot live without it.
  • You don’t need more teaching; you just need the courage to do what God has called you to do.