“It was Just Soup!”

Soup picture

What would you pay for a bowl of soup?

It’s the great exchange.  Business deal gone wrong.  Who would hire him after such a catastrophic blunder?  He was on his way to the top and then he settled, giving in to his cravings.  He knew better, a Field & Stream type of guy who understood strategy; he lived and breathed patience.  He should have calculated the cost.

But, he didn’t.

What was he thinking or was he thinking at all?

Soup!

An estate for a bowl, a moment of weakness left a desperate man wrestling with his soul.

“‘Once when Jacob was cooking some stew (soup), Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!”  31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.” 32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew (soup). He ate and drank, and then got up and left.  So Esau despised his birthright.”‘ –Genesis 25: 29-34

And in that impulsive decision, Esau lost sight of his goals.  Instead of envisioning his life backwards, he lived for the moment; he never once considered the consequences of his selfishness until later in life.

It wasn’t fair for Esau, but he made the choice;

from the grave, we hear his voice–  “Soup!  It was just soup!”

From our perspective, it is easy to scoff at such a ridiculous decision.  A bowl of soup, a large estate…..  how could he not wait?  But,…..

aren’t we compromising the same?

Even today, Americans are still selling their legacy for a bowl of soup!

We work more to have more…… stuff

we pack it up, we stack it up, but we never give it up.

We buy titles with family time, pleasure with purpose, beauty with dignity, worldly wisdom with faith.

The life we know is a perpetual rat race that leaves us exhausted, famished and returning to our chef, “Would you like more soup?”

Dear friend, how about you and I skip on the appetizer and claim the entrée that only Christ can give?  Let’s make sure our priorities are leading us to where God wants to sustain us.

Blessings!  Michelle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling Lost?

Are you feeling lost today, as if you are unsure and even possibly unsettled about your life’s direction?  If Google Maps were to locate your position, would it find you facing your forgiven past or your purposeful future?  Perhaps, you are standing where the saints before you once stood, somewhere between the sacred and the mundane.  You can see God moving in your life, He has to be, because without Him, you wouldn’t be where you are.  However, your Monday-morning reality appears anything but sacred.  Between counting calories and meeting deadlines, do you wonder if God can connect your present location to your future ministry?

Rest assured, He can and He will!  “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11

Consider the shepherd, David, waking up Monday mornings in the midst of stinky sheep.  Where man saw a shepherd, God saw a king.  “The Lord said to Samuel, “’How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king.’” –1 Samuel 16:1

And then there was Gideon hiding in a hole from the bullies in his life.  Where man saw a coward, God saw a hero.  “When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, ‘“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”’ –Judges 6:12

How about Mephibosheth?  Physically handicapped and feeling rejected, he made his residence in a town of forgotten people.  Where man saw a disability, God saw royalty.  “And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table; he was lame in both feet.” —2 Samuel 9:13

What about Paul?  From persecuting Christians to a promotion in tent-making, would anyone dare to believe that God was preparing him for something beyond himself?  Where man saw a wrecked life, God saw an apostle, an author, a missionary.

And the stories continue…..  Moses in the desert, Joseph in prison, Sarah still barren, Noah still building…

the Transition Period

The transition period softens the rat race within our soul; we want more from this life than a larger bank account and a new job title.  We aren’t willing to settle for the temporal vanities of this world.  We crave more God and less stuff.  We want more meaning and less wasting of our time and talents.  We refuse to climb another step on the so-called ladder of success.  We can now see that it is leaning against the wrong wall!  Another day, another dollar…  we will be there when the kids get taller.

It’s the place between where we were and where we are going.  It’s a season of proactively waiting on God to direct our next big step.  What appears as our daily grind is actually God’s greatest training camp for our lives.  It is where God aligns our pasts with our purpose, where our failures and successes are woven into our future ministry.  We may not feel as if anything is happening here, but it is!  God is working behind the scenes, He is orchestrating events for our life’s performance.

Friend, are you currently in transition?  Congratulations, you have been promoted!  God is about to open doors of opportunity for your life, greater than any position the world might offer.

No longer in your past, you are now ready for God’s best in your future.

Are you a Christian feeling somewhat lost on your life’s journey today?  Get excited, it’s the place of new beginnings!  No matter how uncertain you may feel, the good news is that you are still standing in the palm of His hands.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” –Proverbs 3:5-6

Blessings! –Michelle

It Is Finished!

I am turning 40 this year.  Thankfully, I am not going through a midlife crisis, but I am becoming more aware that my time to live a meaningful life, one that honors Christ, is decreasing.  There are no dress rehearsals for those who breathe.  Do we really believe that living begins once we hit some perceived milestone, as if we are on the sidelines waiting to jump in?  This is it, really!  Our time has begun, and we are on our way to the finish line.  The choices that we make along the journey will determine whether or not we finish well.

What exactly is FINISHING WELL?

The Bible defines the term, “So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” –Colossians 1:10-14

We finish our lives WELL if we have:  1. Accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior  2.  Impacted our families for Christ  3.  Impacted our world for Christ….

The immediate qualifier is that we FINISH WELL as Christians, saved by Jesus for eternal life.  However, if this was God’s only prerequisite for finishing well, our race would have ended upon salvation.  Instead, we are left in the race NOW fully equipped for the race.  God loves people, and He doesn’t want anyone missing from the party at the end.  It’s our job to give them directions.

Secondly, we FINISH WELL bearing fruit in our families.  God desires that we make an eternal impact on those running with us, the ones who share our street address.  They eat our food, sleep in our houses, and rely on us for wisdom throughout our entire lives –our children.  The influence that we make for Christ in our children is the relay baton that we pass into their future.  Regardless of how we received our batons, we can choose to pass ours with grace.  Please notice the instructions from a baton-passing manual, “Hand-offs are especially important in sprint relays, where fractions of a second will win or lose a race, and “blind hand-offs” can be extremely difficult without practice, so make sure you know what you’re doing!”

After our families, we FINISH WELL bearing fruit in our world.   We lead runners to the cross with our God-inspired talents (birth-given) and gifts (salvation-given).  Mark 11:12-14 illustrates this point, “The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.”

Friend, the fig tree represents us, and its leaves are indicators of our equipped-talents placed inside our spirit.  If we are Christians, we have “leaves.”  If we have leaves, then we are equipped to produce fruit, evidence of God in our lives through our talents and gifts–our passions.  Please notice that “it was not the season for figs.”  With Christ, it does not matter which season, age, career we are in, we are still capable and expected to produce fruit exactly where we are.  God overrides the so-called disqualifiers of our season.  In other words, God through us can produce great fruit in the midst of a rebellious child, a stressful career, an estranged marriage, a dying family member.  In our inconveniences, God is still capable and willing to work if we just let Him.  Jesus is a gentleman, and he waits for us to choose Him over our circumstances.

We finish well as Christians who consistently  bear fruit in our families first,  and then our world!

Along the journey to finishing well, there are 7 Essentials for a Successful Race—     We must….

1.  Know WHOSE We Are that we may know WHO We Are!

2.  Define our Priorities Before the World Does!

3.  Burn our Boats!

4.  Say “No” to the Good & “Yes” to the Best!

5.  Lose a Battle to Win the War!

6.  Intentionally Pursue Success!

7.  Recognize Pitfalls Along the Way!

Friend, if yesterday was your last, would you have finished well?  If not, you still have today!  Can you look ahead and see your children carrying your baton to their finish line?  Can you look behind and forgive those who dropped it ?  More importantly, can you look above and trust the One who redeems it?

Blessings! –Michelle

Your Career Can Be Your Calling!

Would you be willing to take a salary of $1,000,000 per year, every year, until the age of 67, hypothetically, of course. You must work 50 hours per week with only 2 weeks off for vacation per year.

Does this sound like a commitment that you could easily make?

I can hear you shouting…. “Yes! Are you kidding, of course – Who wouldn’t?  Sign me up!”

Wait—There’s just one catch–

Imagine a career that you absolutely, positively NEVER would want to do.  It doesn’t fit your talents, your strengths; although, it may be a perfect match for someone else. To add insult to injury, imagine that it compromises your values, even your priorities.   In other words, this career meets your financial needs in exchange for your passions, your heart’s calling.

You must absolutely dread it for $1,000,000 per year! What career would this be FOR YOU?              (Note:  There is nothing wrong with this career choice; however, it feels wrong for you.) 

Would you still sign up? Why or why not?

Interestingly, many people have already signed up, and the salaries are far less.

According to the Society for Human Resource Professionals, “8 out of 10 employees are dissatisfied with their jobs; they are overworked, stressed out, fed up — and eager to quit their jobs once the economy picks up.”  They are experiencing career burnout, “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.”  Burnout is often found when the combination of an employee’s giftedness overshadows the level of job expectation for a repetitive period of time.

This leaves one to question whether there is a difference between a job and a calling?  The answer is… Yes and No.  A Calling is the internal prompting of the Holy Spirit to surrender your talents, gifts, abilities through physical or mental effort that another may benefit.

A job can be your calling or it can finance it.

The problem exists when your job that is financing your calling consumes your life that you can’t begin to focus on your calling.  If your job is your calling, then you should experience great fulfillment in knowing that your giftedness is making life better for others.  However, a calling should never compromise your priorities as it aligns with God‘s word.  If your “calling” steals your time from God and family, then it’s not God’s plan; it’s yours.  In addition, God has purposed different callings for different seasons in your life– “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” –Ecclesiastes 3:1

The good news is that as we walk daily with Christ, He takes responsibility for our destination, our careers.  Wherever we are, there He is.  If He wants us somewhere other than here, He will move us there.  In the process, He is preparing us in the jobs where we currently work.  To illustrate this point well, let us remember Joseph, the future prince of Egypt.  He began his training betrayed by his family, sold as a slave, imprisoned for righteousness.  In each situation, he sought to serve others with his talents.  Even when he had the position to hurt those who caused his grief, he still chose to respond in love– “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” —Genesis 50:20. 

Through his story, we learn that wherever we are, God is in control.  If He hasn’t moved us, He’s growing us.  Rather than abandon what God has started, we need to find creative ways to exercise our talents in the soil where He has planted us.  Ultimately, the goal is to share our talents wherever God leads us, and in doing so, we will hear the Lord speak, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!” —Matthew 25:23

Blessings!  –Michelle