Don’t Stop Too Soon


Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message….

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised”  ~ Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV.

Can I make a confession? Sometimes I quit too soon. I’ve quit when what I really needed to do was to press on and press through. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of trying. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of the struggle. And you know what? I’ve missed many blessings because I got tired of the battle. I don’t want to do that any longer. I’m taking my cues from Joshua.

The battle plan to take the Promised Land was as simple as it was strange. March around the city of Jericho with all the armed men. Do this in silence, once a day for six days. Then on the seventh day, walk around seven times with the priests blowing the trumpets. Have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go straight in.

Now, that was a strange plan. God’s infinite ways often don’t make sense in our finite minds. Sometimes you have to be willing to look ridiculous and be radical to live a remarkable life. The choices you make when you feel God’s nudge will become the hinges on which your destiny swings. Each individual decision you make, to obey or ignore God’s promptings and directives, is a thread that weaves the tapestry of your life.

Jericho was tightly shut up. Sometimes it can feel that our promises are tightly shut up. That doesn’t mean that we give up. That means that we suit up, step up, and keep moving forward.

God said, “See, I have delivered them into your hands.” Notice that verb tense. God did not say, “I will deliver them into your hands.” He said, “I have delivered them into your hands.” He had already done it, but they had to obey and put their foot down to receive it. I love how God speaks in past tense to our present problems.

But here’s the conundrum: What do you do when what God says doesn’t match up with what you see? When all you see is a big wall standing between your promise and your present situation?
There will be times when you are doing everything you know to do, and you still don’t see any movement. The Israelites walked around Jericho for six days, and as far as they could tell, nothing happened. I’m sure it unnerved the people behind the wall, but as far as the walkers could tell, not one brick fell.

This is where many give up—when they don’t see any progress. The son is still taking drugs. The daughter is still living with her boyfriend. The husband is still cold and aloof. The bank account is still hovering on in double digits.

“God, throw me a bone,” I cry. “Show me a little something! Let me see just a hint of progress! Can I see one brick fall?” And God says, “Keep walking … by faith.”

Just because you don’t see God working does not mean that He isn’t. Jesus said, “My Father is always at work” (John 5:17). The writer of Hebrews notes: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35).

Today, you might be on lap number seven and not even know it. Joshua told them to march around Jericho, but he didn’t tell them how many times they were going to have to do it. He just said to “march forward” and “remain silent.”

Supposed they had stopped on day six saying, “This is ridiculous. I’m not feelin’ it. Not one stone has fallen to the ground. I don’t see any progress. Those folks are probably in there laughing their heads off. I’m going home.”

They would have missed the blessing.

I wonder how many times I have missed the blessing because I stopped too soon. Perhaps you’ve wondered:

  • How much longer will I have to wait until God brings my prodigal home?
  • How much longer will I have to struggle with this unbelieving husband?
  • How much longer will I have to endure this dead-end job?
  • How much longer will I have to go without a job?
  • How many more laps will I have to walk around Jericho before the walls come tumbling down and I can take hold of my Promised Land?

I don’t know the answer to the question of how much longer, but I do know this, tomorrow could be the final lap. Don’t give up too soon.

Can I tell you something? Sometimes I get tired of writing books, posting devotions, and crafting blogs. But as I sit down to the keyboard, I realize that something I say might be just what someone needs to take that last lap around her walled up promise. So I write. And then someone has the courage and sustenance to take one more lap.

Keep going, my friend!  Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

When You Feel Discouraged

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message..

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded ~ Hebrews 10:35 NIV.

Have you ever gone through a period of discouragement? Perhaps you’re in one right now. Believe me, I’ve been right there with you. I’ve hidden in the cave with Elijah, under the gourd plant with Jonah, and in the dessert with Moses.

Discouragement comes when there is a gap between what you expect and what you experience—when there is a gap between what you hoped would happen and what actually does happen.

Discouragement can destroy your passion and undermine your purpose. It can take root because of what others say or didn’t say—a mom who said too much or a dad who said too little. Unmet expectations can become the breeding ground for discouragement to multiply and take root.

We certainly see that in Moses’s life. When Moses was forty years old, he expected to be the deliverer for his people. But what he experienced was rejection and regret. Forty years later, when God called him to lead the enslaved Israelites out of Egypt, Moses argued:

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exod. 4:10).

This statement that came out of Moses’s stuttering lips was simply not true. As Stephen reminded us: “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22). Moses had defined himself by his failure and was held hostage by a constant state of discouragement. Oh friend, we need to be so careful to not do the same.

Discouragement causes many a believer to pull up a lawn chair in cul-de-sac Christianity and refuse to venture out to the adventurous faith. They mumble the words “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” over their hopes and dreams. They fill the gap between what they hope for and what they experience with the false belief that dreams aren’t worth the effort.

What we tend to see as a permanent condition, God sees as a temporary situation. What you see as one of your greatest setbacks might be one of God’s incredible setups for marvelous miracles to occur. If you are meeting resistance in your hopes and dreams, then you’re most likely on the right track. The devil wouldn’t mess with you if you weren’t a menace to his plans and a valuable asset to God.

What the devil really wants to do is to steal your confidence, and the best time to rob you blind is during a season of disappointment. Guard your heart. Don’t be caught unaware and allow him to hold you back, trip you up or slow you down. The circumstances are, well, just circumstantial—collateral damage in the real battle to take away your confidence in Christ.

So don’t let the devil win. You are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus!

Let go of debilitating discouragement and take hold of your next assignment!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Why His Strength is Our Victory

Thank you Kelly Balarie for today’s message…

Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. ~~ Psalm 127:1 NIV

There are two ways champion athletes act. Consider the game of football. The guy who runs the winning touchdown either kneels on the ground, pounds his fists against his chest, and yells, “I’m Da’ Man!” or he runs to the 10-yard line, points up to God, and says, “All due credit goes to You, Jesus.”

May we do all things to the glory of God.

A girl can hope, right? Sometimes I misplace due-glory. It’s not that I don’t want to thank, praise or give credit to God. I do. It is just that I get busy, distracted, and focused on all that I need to do. All the people who need me. All the happenings around me.

Are you at all like me?

Consider, when you (work, help others, do a job, want something, are after a dream), do you:

1. Work really hard, yet feel disappointed that you don’t get what you want? (Yes/No)
2. Put your best effort in, yet feel reliant on the outcome? (Yes/No)
3. Get upset when people don’t acknowledge what you’ve done? (Yes/No)
4. Become worried that other people will look better than you? (Yes/No)
5. Wonder if you’ll be put to shame if you don’t perform well? (Yes/No)
6. Hope that people see you and notice all that you are doing? (Yes/No)
7. Work yourself to the point of being extremely tired? (Yes/No)
8. Say yes to everyone even though you know you should say no? (Yes/No)
9. Expect people to give you the things “due to you”? (Yes/No)
10. Become resentful towards the “many” people who demand things of you? (Yes/No)

If you answered yes to a few of the above questions, this is a good sign you’re working by your own strength. Strength that leads to discouragement, disappointment and a depleted spirit.

Our strength = Our defeat.

His strength = Our victory.

Where do you need to move out of the way, so that you can find a new, restful and restorative way — Jesus’ way?

Relying on God’s victory doesn’t mean we do nothing. Here are some things we can do, while trusting God as we wait on Him. We can:

1. Pray
2. Lean on His promises
3. Wait to understand what He wants us to do.
4. Move out and love others
5. Rest
6. Pray and give thanks.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How To Have a Productive Day

We’ve all been there. Days you don’t want to tackle the “To Do” list, right?   I used to think it was easier when I was working full-time and juggling my DS business on nights and weekends.  I knew I only had a limited about of time to be productive before I crashed for the night.  I was focused and had a plan.

Now I work from home full time and hubby works the swing shift.  It is easy to blow off at least part of the day till he goes to work, hanging out and ignoring my business completely.  I have learned (the hard way)  I won’t achieve my goals this way.  When I worked at home as a grant writer, it was easier because there were deadlines.  Belinda went to school, I worked.  Of course some would say I always worked.  I had lots of deadlines and a passion in my soul to make a difference.  Now to use some of those same tricks in my DS business at home.

Having health issues and working at home full time, some days I need an extra little push in the right direction to get me going.  What about you?  Maybe you are crazy busy and you want to learn how to be more productive so you can get back on track with your goals.  Here are some tips which might help you….

#1 – Figure out the feelings.

I’m great at stuffing them so this one is sometimes tough for me.  Are you feeling burnt out? Are you dreading one (or more!) of the tasks on your To Do list? Do you lack inspiration?  Do you over analyze everything so you suffer from “Analysis Paralysis?”.  The truth is by figuring out why you are feeling the way you are,  you can acknowledge it and then work to solve it.  Change up the routine.  Have an impromptu dance party in the living room to get the juices flowing.

#2 Accomplish Something – ANYTHING – First Thing In The Morning

I’m usually up and in my office for by 7AM.  I have a checklist of daily things I have to get done a a bare minimum.  This gets the ball rolling for me. For you,  it can be a simple task like cleaning up the kitchen while enjoying your morning coffee.  On rough days, making the bed is my one accomplishment.  Pick one thing each morning and accomplish it.  Once you are done, spend a moment enjoying how it feels to have completed the task.

#3 Adjust your Morning Routine

Start your morning off on the right foot so you have a productive mindset.  Be sure you eat something healthy with some protein in it to start your day off right.   I’m not a big breakfast person but grabbing a hard boiled egg with my coffee helps.  While you’re enjoying a healthy breakfast option, start writing down your priority list. For me, I take the top 3 things I need to do and get them done!  You may want to start with the easiest task and work up to the more difficult ones.  When you use preparing a to-do list based on priority levels as part of your morning routine, you’ll naturally start to have a more productive day.

#4 Allow Breaks during the Day

I’m learning when I take breaks during the day, I am more productive.  It’s okay to take breaks throughout your day, especially if you have a heavy workload.  Breaks like 15 – 30 minutes not 2 – 3 hours.  Once you finish a task, reward yourself.  Take a break. Grab a snack.  Put on some music and dance around.  By giving yourself rewards (breaks) when a task is completed you will maintain your confidence and motivation. It’s great to take a break in between tasks because it helps transition your mind from one priority item to another.  Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a regular lunch break each day.  Get away from the office.  Clear your head.  You will be amazed at how much you get accomplished.

#5 Manage Your Distractions

There are LOTS of distractions when we work from home BUT the biggest distraction is social media.   The “just want to check one thing” on Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram then it is 3 hours later and nothing has gotten done.  I’ve even used the excuse of “I’m working on my business”!  I need to remind myself, if I was working for someone else, I wouldn’t be able to take personal calls or texts, so why do I do it during my business hours?  Schedule your social media time so you can still maintain your online presence without having to be logged in at all times.

It is possible to have a more productive day – every day.  When you practice these tips, you will create habits which will lead to success!  What is your best tip for having a productive day?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How to Be Enough, When It Feels Like All Eyes are On You

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s message:

One evening, while on a getaway with my husband, Steve and I splurged at a fancy restaurant, complete with a four-man band playing music from the ’40s and ’50s. We had taken a few ballroom dance lessons, and Steve was itching to see if we could remember the foxtrot.

“Come on, Sharon,” he urged. “Let’s take a spin on the dance floor.”

“No way,” I said. “Nobody else is dancing.

I’m not going to be the only one out there with everyone staring at me. And suppose we mess up? I’d be embarrassed. It’s been a long time since we’ve practiced, and I don’t remember all the steps. Let’s wait until some other people are out there so we won’t be so conspicuous.”

After a few moments, the first couple took their place on the parquet. They squared their shoulders, pointed their toes, and framed their arms. In one fluid motion they graced the dance floor with perfect dips, sways, turns, and twirls. They looked good, and they knew it.

Nope. I was not going to embarrass myself. I hunkered down in my seat with renewed resolve. I was stuck there. I refused to budge. Then couple number two joined couple number one. Their steps weren’t quite so perfect, but they looked pretty good too.

“Okay, I’ll go,” I said. “But let’s get in the back corner behind that big ficus tree so nobody can see us.”

Off we went to try to remember the slow-slow-quick-quick of the foxtrot. The whole time I was hoping all eyes were still mesmerized on the polished artistry of couple number one.

As I dared look at the crowd, I noticed they weren’t looking at couple number one, number two, or even wobbly kneed number three. All eyes were fixed on a fourth couple approaching the dance floor. The husband was in a wheelchair. He was a middle-aged, slightly balding, large-framed man with a neatly trimmed salt-and-pepper beard.

His dapper attire included a crisp white shirt, a snappy bow tie, and a stylish tuxedo. On his left hand he wore a white glove—I guessed to cover a skin disease. With a smiling wife by his side, the couple approached the dance floor with a graceful confidence and fashionable flair.

Suddenly everyone else faded away, and they seemed to be the only two people in the room.

As the band churned out a peppy tune, the blithesome wife held her love’s healthy right hand and danced. He never rose from the wheelchair that had become his legs, but they didn’t seem to care. They came together and separated like expert dancers. He spun her around as she stooped low to conform to her husband’s seated position.

Lovingly, like a little fairy child, she danced around his chair while her laughter became the fifth instrument in the musical ensemble. Even though his feet never left their metal resting place, his shoulders swayed in perfect time and his eyes danced with hers.

My heart was so moved by this love story unfolding before my eyes that I had to turn my head and bury my face on Steve’s chest so no one would see the tears streaming down my cheeks. As I did, I saw person after person dabbing linen napkins to dewy eyes.

This portrait of love and devotion transfixed even the band members, now misty-eyed as well. Finally, the music slowed to a romantic melody. The wife pulled up a chair beside her husband’s wheelchair, but facing in the opposite direction. They held each other in a dancer’s embrace, closed their eyes, and swayed back and forth, cheek to cheek.

Surprisingly, I no longer worried about whether anyone was watching me.

I didn’t care if my steps weren’t perfect. I wasn’t even concerned about being compared to and falling short of perfect couple number one.

The Lord spoke to my heart in a powerful way. Sharon, I want you to notice who moved this crowd to tears, He seemed to say. Was it couple number one, with their perfect steps? Or was it the last couple that had no steps at all? No, My child, it was the display of love, not perfection, that moved the crowd. If you obey Me, if you do what I have called you to do, then I will do for you what that man’s wife did for him.

As Paul said, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

God isn’t looking for perfect people with perfect children, perfect marriages, and perfect lives. He is not searching for men and women with perfect steps to do great things for Him.

He is looking for courageous believers who will rely on His power to work in and through them to accomplish all He has planned for them to do.He is scouting for followers who will obey Him regardless of their present fears or past failures.

He is looking for men and women who know they are good enough because of His power working in them and through them.

Simply put, God had sent a lame man to teach me how to dance.

God chooses to do extraordinary work through ordinary people who will bring glory to His name.

Men and women who know they are not good enough in their own strength but are incredibly powerful in God’s strength slay the giants of this world.

Today, I’m thinking that’s you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!