The Scandal of a Scarcity Mentality

Oh the Scandal!! What shame!! What embarrassment!! How preposterous the situation…

When we are called to “dare greatly” but then we get sucked into the scandal of a scarcity mentality, also known as “the never-enough problem” (Brene Brown). Writer Lynne Twist said it best, “For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ The next one is ‘I don’t have enough time.’ Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it.”

How scandalous. I’m guilty. I just caught myself saying I needed more sleep. Yet, it goes deeper than that. In our narcissistic culture, we are bombarded with overt comparison and the feelings of not being good enough or the fear of being ordinary. We struggle to be seen and heard because creativity has been silenced and suffocated. “We get scarcity because we live it (Brene Brown).” So how would you respond when you hear or see the phrase: Never _______________ enough? Fill in the blank for yourself.

Never good enough.

Never perfect enough.

Never successful enough.

Never safe enough.

I’m sure your own word popped up at some point. The good news is that we can heal from this! We can come together and challenge this scandalous mentality. We find the solution played out in the familiar miracle of the Bible when one little boy’s lunch made a ‘huge picnic’ possible after Jesus multiplied and blessed it. This is week 3 in Lisa Harper’s Bible Study, The Gospel of Mark: The Jesus We’re Aching For. In this story in Mark 6:30-44, the disciples are putting on a scandal with their scarcity mentality. However, Jesus so “gently pushed them a little further than they were used to going with the question, ‘What do you have that we can work with?” Here’s the solution. The opposite of scarcity is enough. Bottom line:

Our scarcity + faith in Jesus = MORE THAN ENOUGH~ Lisa Harper

The love and compassion for Jesus is too powerful. As Lisa Harper stated, “The only true eternal scandal would be for us not to see Jesus for who He is. Jesus is the Messiah. He is our only hope.” Thank you for joining me in week 3 of the Bible Study. I pray you are blessed and the Glory of Jesus is revealed in your life!

The Gospel of Mark Book

Week 3: The Scandal of a Scarcity Mentality

Scripture Reference:

  • Mark 6:30-44

Reflective Questions:

  • What basic necessities (i.e. time, money, food, energy) do you need God to replenish for you this season?
  • Mark 6:42 says, “All the people ate and were satisfied.” How would you define being satisfied, spiritually-speaking? Are you satisfied that way?

Cloudy and I Know It

Last year was a bit “cloudy” for me. I went through a lot of transitions and experienced some high points and low points. Dreams were put on hold and others came to reality. My faith was tested and my walk with God wavered. Many people believe this myth that because you are a Christian, you won’t have struggles or you do not wrestle with your faith…this couldn’t be further from the truth. I say all of this to say that there were moments I was on Cloud nine. I was blissfully happy and nothing in my surroundings could move me in a negative direction. I saw clearly what life had in store for me and I was ready to dive headfirst into the vision I know that God has for me. Then there were other moments…

…life situations that I allowed to happen and life situations that. just. happened

…and they placed me right in the middle of the clouds and everything became a blur. All I could see was what was right in front of me and nothing made sense anymore. My heart became heavy, my mind stubborn to the Word of God, and I felt myself slowly falling away from God’s pleasing and perfect plan for my life.

Welcome to what I call life. We all have different life situations that will challenge the way we see things. Sometimes we allow those things into our life that we know are not for us…they could be romantic relationships, business partnerships, jobs, excessive social media, etc…and they slowly take our focus from being above the clouds where the vision is clear to suddenly being immersed in them.

Sometimes we allow GOOD things into our life, but it’s not the BEST God has for us.

What’s funny is then we try to justify our actions. We try to make the wrong right, or what we think is right fit into our lives. Let me tell you…it will not work! No matter how bad we desire our own wants, we know in the back of our minds something is off. I guarantee you the Holy Spirit splashed a huge warning sign in front of us at some point but we were so stubborn to follow it because we want what we want so badly. Then I’m sure you get frustrated with the struggles of life because you have no control over it. Well, at least I do. I had a situation that lasted nearly 8 months and it seemed like whenever I fixed one problem, the situation only got worse and was prolonged further!

I understand what it means to feel pain in areas of life that makes you wish you had a huge reset button. (How cool would that be to just reset life lol?!) You’re tired and your strength is weak. You wonder what the future has in store for you. You feel like no one else is going through what you are experiencing. Trust me when I tell you that we all have some giant elephant we are dealing with…some choose to try to hide it which only makes matters worse. Life is certainly not a fairy tale, but I know it is beautiful. It becomes beautiful in its own time. Only when we surrender to God’s will and perfect timing, will we be able to see the beauty above the clouds and even in them.

The serenity about life is that when we mess up…God is still faithful. God is not moved by our conditional behavior. The fact that I fell slowly into the clouds only made me aware how much more I need a Savior that loves me in spite of the filth. It was when I recognized my weakness and vulnerabilities that I could be strong in the Lord. I am not saying that you should accept your shortcomings as a way of living; we are called to be set apart and live a lifestyle that is pleasing to God. However, we are to accept our wrongs as lessons, make them part of our stories that we share with others, as to maintain an integrity and wholeness towards soundness and healing. True healing and peace comes from accepting all of yourself, even the parts you don’t want to; to recognize that you may be on cloud nine or in the clouds. That’s authenticity. That’s integrity. God can only transform what we authentically bring to Him…

Now that the new year is upon us and it is 2017, it is a great opportunity to see clearly what God has for your life. I am joining my church in our annual 21 day fasting and prayer this month which starts today. Why fasting and prayer? It is the most powerful spiritual discipline of all discussed in the Bible. We need our lives transformed! We need results and not talk! We need the power of God! Prayer and fasting is the answer to all of those. I’m believing God for clarity and a clear vision for 2017 and beyond. If you need to get out of the clouds, I encourage you to fast and pray so that your life can be used for Kingdom purpose. I will leave you with 12 things you can expect from a Fast from Lisa Bevere’s “You Are Not What You Weigh.” Be Blessed. Be Revealed.

 

cloud-post

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A FAST

Excerpt from, You Are Not What You Weigh, by Lisa Bevere

  • Fasting Creates a New Hunger -(Ezra 8:23) As the initial hunger pangs or longings cease, a new desire is formed.
  • Fasting Works Humility – (Psalm 35:13) – We feel our natural strength waning. In our weakness, we find ourselves more dependent upon God. It is turning away from what we can provide, and turning toward what God alone can give.
  • Fasting Increases Sensitivity to God – (Luke 2:36-38) Anna in the scripture could hear clearly what God was saying.
  • Fasting Chastens or Disciplines – (Psalm 69:10) David maintained his spiritual life by means of bringing his body into subjection.
  • Fasting Changes Our Appetite – (Acts 13:2) God often uses times of fasting and prayer to speak to the desires of our hearts, and to reveal his purpose and destiny for our lives.
  • Fasting Increases Our Capacity – (Esther 4:16) Fasting increases your capacity for self-sacrifice and imparted wisdom.
  • Fasting Brings Answers to Prayer – (Isaiah 58:9) A godly fast will bring answered prayer and it may come through his Word, or as a still small voice, or by a strong confirmation of what He has previously shown us.
  • Fasting Leads to Quick Healing – (Isaiah 58:8) The healing can be physical, mental, or spiritual. Even natural medicine supports this – many illnesses occur in the digestive system. A short fast gives our body a chance to refocus its energies on healing instead of eating. (Please consult a physician before undertaking a fast if you are ill.)
  • Fasting Opens the Door to God’s Protection and Provision – (Isaiah 58:8) God promised to be a guard before us and behind us. A fast renews your righteousness and sends it on before you. Then, as you give God the glory, He returns righteousness as your rear guard.
  • Fasting Looses the Chains of Injustice – (Isaiah 58:6) This fast has the power to loose any unjust chains that bind us. It is not merely for personal liberation, but it represents God’s desire to see us reach out and loose the ties that bind others, and remove the chains of oppression.
  • Fasting Frees the Oppressed and Breaks Every Yoke – (Isaiah 58:6) A fast is a time when we take our eyes off of ourselves and our own needs; and look around at the oppression and pain of others. In response, we learn to reach out in compassion and help – becoming agents of healing.
  • Fasting Motivates Us to Provide Food for the Needy – (Isaiah 58:7) You are not eating because of a fast, then you are free to share your portion with those less fortunate.

If you would like to follow the 21 day devotions for fasting and prayer, click the link below.

http://21days.victoryatl.com/

 

I Felt Like Lebron

lebron

Just a few days ago I had a little extra free time on my hands, so I thought I would make use of it and hit the gym and basketball courts from a busy week. From someone who is used to being in the gym everyday of the week and on the court, to now being back in the classroom and teaching is a complete shift and adjustment for my body…however, I found out quickly my mind did not make that transition altogether yet.

So there I was playing pick up basketball with some people in the neighborhood. I stepped on the court, the only female there, and my competitive nature kicked in. Mind you I haven’t played in a couple of weeks or even warmed up my body to prepare for the run, but I thought, “I’ll be alright.” This older gentleman (I’m trying to be nice) was guarding me… so again, in my mind I’m thinking “go to work.”

At first my body wasn’t moving like I wanted it to. Then with a few runs up and down the court, I caught my second wind, hit a jumper in the corner, got a few oohs from the crowd, and picked up my game. Then I crossed a defender and made a drive down the lane and suddenly started “feeling myself.” It’s okay to laugh…I felt like Lebron.

Anyways, that feeling didn’t last long.

Because the next play I caught the ball and came down on my ankle all wrong. So now, I’m walking around with a LIMP. I’ll probably be rehabbing my ankle for a few weeks. It’s alright; I’ll be back to normal in no time. But what does this have to do with you or anything for that matter?

A limp doesn’t stop the walk. A failure doesn’t stop the process. Being tired doesn’t mean I stop altogether. I keep going. You keep going. In the end you’ll win the prize as long as you keep going.

So yes, in the end you can “feel like LeBron” holding up the NBA championship trophy after years of disappointment and close calls. As Christians, our goal is to eventually hear the words, “…Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” (Matthew 25:21 NLT)

Now please, hear me correctly. Do not picture yourself crossing the finish line crippled, or holding up the trophy weak and tired. LeBron was playing his best basketball when he held up the trophy. We too will be walking in full stride and strength when we ultimately win our prize. However, it’s in the journey that we will experience these “limps” along the way. So keep walking! Keep going! Imagine victory around the corner and the taste of triumph in your mouth. We will win if we do not faint.

One last thing…go read my friend’s post from today (link below)…she has an encouraging and powerful message that will enrich and inspire your hearts to never give up! Be Blessed family! Be Revealed!

Source: My Life as a Storyteller

They’re Cheering You On.

Cheering.png

There was a time in college I woke up late for my team’s 6:00 am mile run. Yep, I slept right through my alarm and rolled over in the comfort of my bed as my teammates ran the mile early in the morning. I awoke to the sound of a knock on my door. It was more like a banging. As soon as my eyes opened, suddenly the realization of where I was and where I was supposed to be hit me like sirens going off in my head. I ran to open the door and see who was banging and it was my head coach.

With my hand still on the door handle and my eyes locking eyes with my coach, I did what anyone else would have done. I slammed the door back shut. Then proceeded to run to my bathroom to try to figure out how to explain what just happened. My coach came in and followed to check on me. In the most understanding way, she simply told me to get dressed for the run and head over to the track.

When I arrived at the track, all of my teammates were still there; finished with their timed run. So I stretched and stepped up to the line…alone. My coach had a timer in her hand and told me to go when I was ready. I took off. I had so much adrenaline built up from being late and having to be timed, I ran the first lap faster than my natural pace. Lap 2 came around and I noticed myself getting tired early. Then the most interesting thing happened…

I heard the sound of my teammates cheering me on to finish. Mind you they already finished their race. Yet, two teammates joined me on the second lap and my energy picked up. My determination increased. My wind came back. Lap 3 came around and other teammates joined me and the cheers got louder. By the time I was on my last lap, my entire team was running with me pushing me to finish strong to the end.

I will never forget the power of teamwork and love in that moment of my life. I was late, I was tired, I was defeated before I even started and finished my race. Yet, I had people who went before me and cheered me on to the finish line.

Life will often happen the same way. We mess up. We get tired and our faith will get weak. Hope seems lost. Yet, scripture says that we have a cheering section ready to inspire and motivate us to the finish line. They did it. Most importantly, Christ did it and so can we.

Sometimes we win because we have strength to finish on our own. Other times we win because of who’s watching us. You’re not alone. You have teammates cheering you on!

Hebrews 11:1 also talks about the weights and sins in our lives that can slow us down and get us off track. What are you willing to give up in order to get where you are trying to go? What are the weights you need to lay aside to be the champion you need to be? It’s a daily struggle to lay aside the sin in our lives and live as the champion in Christ that we are. Paul in Romans 8 speaks about this internal battle we have that we as Christians struggle with. However, in the very next chapter we get clarity that we are winners, even if we don’t feel like it.

 

4x100 team
Olympic Gold: USA Women’s 4×100 team. Photo from SB Nation.

We are more than conquerors through him who loved us (Romans 8:37) and there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because He has set us free from the law of sin and death (v.1-2). So when your faith gets tired and your hope seems lost, remember that you are not alone in your struggles. You have a group cheering you on to the finish line because they know you can make it. Christ already won. There’s a champion, fighter, builder, and thinker in you! Get focused again and push yourself to the limit! In Him we are winners and in our weakness, He is made strong.

It’s time to run again. Be Blessed family. Be Revealed.

 

 

 

 

My Prayer For You

GOD CAN DO ANYTHING. BELIEVE IT.

God can do anything

Be encouraged this morning! I don’t know what your circumstances are or what you may be going or praying through; have faith to believe that it is all working out for your good. I want to challenge you and dare you to put faith in God. True faith is trusting in Him, even when everything else is impossible to understand. One of my favorite quotes says, “Don’t be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.”

He will turn those impossibilities around in your life.

He will make the wrongs right.

He will do more than what you expected.

God Can Do Anything. Believe it.

I prayed this over myself this morning, and I want the same blessing for you all! My hope is that you will be encouraged and strengthened in your walk today! Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

Dear Father, thank You for being so good to us! I ask You to strengthen everyone by Your Spirit, that You will live in us as we invite You in. I pray that we will be ROOTED in Your love and grasp how wide and long and high and deep Your love for them is. I pray that we will dare greatly…that we will believe ferociously…that we will rise up and live our lives to the fullest!!! I pray we know that You can do anything, even beyond our imaginations and wildest dreams. Father, work deep within us, change us by Your gentle Spirit so that we can be all that You called us to be. Amen. (Reference Ephesians 3:14-21)

From Failure to Promise

There is nothing more heartfelt and inspiring to me than someone who has overcome many odds and achieved success. I’ve been there and I’m still there. To see the determination and drive of others reach their goals, encourages me to keep running my race.

The famous Zig Ziglar once stated, “Other people and things can stop you temporarily. You’re the only one who can do it permanently.”

Winners are just ex-losers who GOT MAD. ~ Jeanne Mayo

From Failure to Promise is an unbelievable story about Dr. Cleamon Moorer and his journey of being a college flunk-out to becoming a university professor and dean. He shares his own insights, experiences, but ultimately his personal walk of faith and trust in God. Like all of the books I read and post on Revealed8, I encourage you to pick up and read too! Here are some nuggets from the book that transformed me. Be Blessed! Be Revealed!

From Failure to Promise

  • The promise comes from within; it has to be harnessed, cultivated, manifested, and then realized.
  • We, the conquerors, undergo a series of setbacks only to be set up for the promise that God has in store for us.
  • Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. Psalm 31:24
  • …I would hate to see you waste your talent; you can be anything in this world, if you push for it.
  • Can you envision what you want to do next?
  • Asses how your current environment serves as an inhibitor or as catalyst to the fulfillment of your goals.
  • God will show you your heart’s desire, and he will also provide you the means to fulfill your dreams.
  • Beloved, I encourage you to keep making those steps toward pursuing success.
  • When you begin pulling and searching for things that you don’t have, remember that you have God. He is, and owns EVERYTHING.
  • If you really want something worth having, you have to sacrifice for it. It may require bleeding, sweating, and even crying to get it. Just ask the Lord to help you out along the way. Take breaks, but don’t break away from it.
  • Merit and success are great to achieve. Success coupled with humility and integrity is even better.
  • Our dilemmas are God’s opportunity.
  • Understanding that God has to be the source of our strength, hope, and determination changes everything.
  • Never give up in your pursuits.
  • In your attempts to move forward remember to help bring others forward with you.
  • Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. Luke 17:33
  • POWERFUL: preparation, opportunity, will of God, enter, receive, faithful, unlimited love
  • When God calls you, you will know it, and you’ll never be able to forget it.
  • One often has to do what they have to do in order to do what they want to do; however, if you only do what you want to do, then you will never do what you have to do.
  • It is unacceptable to take a deaf ear and a blind eye to the world’s poor, sick and diseased.
  • Our greatest failure would be not to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to forgo the responsibility of making this world better than how we found it.
  • You can go as far as your faith will take you.
  • Most people who are committed to continuous growth and change will find that transformation is a life-long process.
  • My future and realizing my full promise was contingent upon my OBEDIENCE to God.
  • The pendulum does shift. Trouble can’t and will not last always.

 

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. ~ Winston Churchill

Wash in the Waters Again

Day 24 of the Habits of Grace study directs our attention to Water Baptism. This is a short and concise message that we are seeing less and less in the local church! David Mathis summarizes that baptism is not only a valuable confirmation from the visible church that we are born again, but that we’re symbolically buried with Jesus in death and raised to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). So if you’re new to the faith, baptism marks new – covenant initiation and obedience to the Word. If you’ve already been baptized, then watch your church baptisms to see the gospel on display! It’s always encouraging to me to see others baptized and joined to Jesus. Whichever stage you are in, do not be disengaged when it comes to water baptism. Be blessed! Be Revealed!

“Where there is genuine faith on the part of the person being baptized, and where the faith of the church that watches the baptism is stirred up and encouraged by this ceremony, then the Holy Spirit certainly does work through baptism, and it becomes a “means of grace” through which the Holy Spirit brings blessing to the person being baptized and to the church as well.”

Wayne Grudem