Coffee Breaks with MJ

Is it really picture perfect?  

So I’m going to be transparent in this post.  

Doing life in this day & age with the bombardment of social media, people are showing all the awesomeness of their lives. This makes for a challenge not to let root’s of envy and desire grow. Pictures of holiday’s, new cars or toys, fancy meals or weekend getaways, we tend to only see the highs of each others lives and begin to compare our own lives to them. The problem with this comparison, is that it is based as an outsider looking into a small glimpse of what the other person is revealing to you. You don’t see the whirlwind or the amount of takes it took to get that awesome shot of what their making their life seem to be everyday. This can easily breed envy inside our own hearts, with thoughts like “why isn’t my life turing out like that” or “why does it seem everyone else achieves their dreams but I’m not”. Envy and Jealousy are serious matters of the heart, which must be addressed. James 3:16 says For where jealousy & selfish ambition exist, there is disorder (unrest, rebellion) and every evil thing & morally degrading practise. YIKES this verse scares me when I think how easy it is to have envy & jealousy creep into my heart. I want to encourage you today that Gods grace is so much bigger than our sin, and His heart for us is to succeed in every area of our lives. I know I’m thankful for His grace. If you find envy or jealousy creeping into your heart, ask the Lord to help. Start with repentance and then do what Paul instructs the church in Philippi to do in Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit (through fractional motives, or strife), but with (an attitude of) humility (being neither arrogant nor self-righteous), regard others as more important than yourselves. The truth is those pic’s of sheer awesomeness are just a small glimpse of a bigger picture… one which you just may not want to see.    

Stay in the fight 

Have you ever felt backed into a wall? Up against a hard place? Pressure caving in with no where to hide from it? Seasons come and go in our lives bringing joy and peace, excitement and hope, while others are simply just down right difficult to be in. I'm telling you, we've got to have a backbone and a determination rise up on the inside of us that come hell or high water, I am moving forward and breaking free of this place I find myself in. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9 Now every athlete who (goes into training and) competes in the games is disciplined and exercises self-control in all things. They do it to win a crown that withers, but we (do it to receive) an imperishable (crown that cannot wither). Therefore I do not run without a definite goal; I do not flail around like one beating the air (just shadow boxing). But (like a boxer) I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave... I want to encourage you today, keep fighting! Don’t lose heart and give up! The prize is going to be worth it! Punch, kick or claw, whatever you've got to do till you see breakthrough. Victory is ours, praise the Lord!!  

For the joy set before you! 

… who (Jesus) for the joy set before Him endured the cross… Hebrews 12:2  

How could there be joy set before Jesus as He faced the cross, and where did this joy come from? I love what the amplified bible adds to our scripture text. In brackets, it states that the joy was the accomplished goal. The accomplished goal was set in motion for Jesus life, and He understood His purpose. Because of that understanding, He was able to endure the cross with joy. Knowing our purpose helps to bring joy, peace and contentment no matter what we endure. Yes, trials are hard to face and can wear us out at times. However, as we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, and we stay focused on His purpose for our lives, like Jesus, we can find joy as we endure our crosses. I think of a dreamer in the old testament named Joseph. Joseph’s life at a young age starts with a dream about the great leadership call on his life. The dream sets an agenda in motion called the accomplished goal. The pursuit of this accomplished goal brought about hardships and trials. In the pursuit, Joseph had to face rejection, abandonment, false accusation, slavery and imprisonment, and it had to be the joy set before him (the dream) that allowed him to stay hopeful through the trials he faced. Our dreams/promises from the Lord are an agenda set in motion, and we can find joy through hardship in the pursuit of them, due to the fact that the dream is the already accomplished goal. Be encouraged that no matter what you may face today, it is subject to the accomplished goal the Lord has for your dreams and promises for tomorrow. What is the joy set before you?

Feelings vs. Faith & Fact 

 … Faith comprehends as fact what cannot be experienced by the physical senses. Hebrews 11:1 (AMP) 
  
Our outlook in life must come from a viewpoint of faith and not feelings. Feelings will fail us, as our feelings can change at any given time. Most successful business people know that decisions for their company must be based on fact and not feelings. They know they must leave the “emotion” (that tries to attach itself) at the door when making decisions for the direction their company is headed. Faith & Fact are the winning combination for any of life’s decisions. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Facts are truth and they do not lie. So what are the facts about the decisions pressing you today? Truth can be found in Romans 8:28 (AMP) “And we know (with great confidence) that God (who is deeply concerned about us) causes all things to work together (as a plan) for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.” As you face decisions today whether it is personal, business, financial or health (whatever the decision may be), pick up faith in God! He is true to His word, and it is a fact that He is working it all out for your good. Don’t let your emotions dictate your decisions, but speak the facts about your faith in God and watch where the next steps take you in your faith walk with the decisions you need to make. 

Today's Problem, Tomorrow's Possibility  

...but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present outcome...
Genesis 50:20

  
Is it possible that the problems you may find yourself in today could actually be the doorway of possibilities tomorrow? Think about Joseph for a moment, sold into slavery by his brothers. He finds himself put in prison from a false accusation to being suddenly launched into a governmental position in Egypt. The same brothers who sold him off are the ones now coming to him for help in a time of need. Out of a heart of forgiveness Joseph declares this powerful statement, “brothers, you meant evil, but God meant good in order to bring about this present outcome.” Joseph was stating, “brothers, this is what it had to take in order to create the opportunity for this end result.” The dreams, goals & visions we carry for our lives are like a destination of a trip we are taking, we know where we want to get to, but we can’t see all the details of the journey of getting there. Factors and outcomes are birthed in the process of the journey. We have the end goal in sight, but the process of getting there holds the curves, twists and turns of the journey. The process of the journey to get to our end result is where we build the character to carry the weight of the dream. For Joseph, it all started with some dreams, but it took the process of the problems along the way to develop in him the ability to carry the weight of responsibility that the dream required. With the problems you may face today, like Joseph, can you say, “God is working on my behalf to bring about a desired outcome that is for my good”. 

Syncing  

For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth so that He may support those who’s heart is completely His … 2 Chronicles 16:9  

We have all become custom with the syncing symbol. You know that little bar that fills up when loading something on your computer. Maybe yours is like mine with a circle that continues to spin as I wait, often impatiently. Life is busy, not just at times but all the time. Do you feel like me at times having to wake up with running shoes on? So often we run out of hours before tasks at the end of each day and thats just with the day to day stuff of life. What about our goals, dreams, desires, hopes and cares and the list could go on and on. Our desire is to be active and productive members of society. We long to make contributions into the lives of our families, co-workers, neighbours, communities. Often times when so busy, we forget to take care of ourselves. No time to exercise, fast food on the go, another coffee to stay awake and accomplish what needs to be done. I don’t know if God ever meant for life to get this busy, but I do know He doesn’t want to leave you all on your own in it. He desires to be apart of your hustle and bustle and He longs to give you the strength you need day in and day out. My phone must sync with my computer every now and then if I wish to keep my phone working the way I need it too, but I must purpose to plug the phone into my computer to activate the sync. Just like syncing our electronic devices, we must purpose to sync with God on a daily bases. He desires to support us as we walk out our daily duties and obligations. Sync to Gods strength to accomplish all that needs to be done today, as He’s looking to sync with you.        

A Resolution to Deepen Your Roots 

For he will be (nourished) like a tree planted by the waters, that spreads out its roots by the river… Jeremiah 17:8  

 As we head into the new year, we are passing from “what was” of the past year with all of its hopes, dreams, goals and plans and we’re headed ahead into the “what is”; the realities of what was, the accomplishments of what was, the success of what was, and the failures of what was. The new year is often a time where we have both the “what was” and the “what is” in our sights. As it is a time in which we often set a new and maybe even revive the old. But as we move forward with both in view, we need to deepen our roots in order to gain strength and stability for the year ahead. Roots help to bring stability against the winds of adversity, as well as finding a source of life during dry times. Putting our trust in truth is how we deepen our roots. Truth is constant and unchanging even when we are constantly changing. But blessed is the man who trust in the Lord, who's confidence is in Him. This is the truth, God is the only one we can trust our hopes, dreams, goals and plans too. Deepening our roots means to strengthen our relationship with God and allow Him to lead and guide us forward into the year ahead. He will  take both our successes and failures of the past and make them new. As you head into this new year, make one of your resolutions to deepen your roots with God, to learn His ways, to study His words and to build a relationship with Him through prayer and bible study. Trust God, as He will give you the stability when the winds of adversity begin to blow. Trust God, as He will give you the strength to stand against the winds of resistance and He will lead you forward this new year to where you are running without hinderance or restriction. No matter “what shall be” this coming year, give God your “what is” and your "what was” and watch the accomplishments you'll have this coming year.  

A Gift Makes Room - Part 1. 

A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men. Proverbs 18:16

A few years ago our pastor felt to ask a big name speaker to come to our church. This speaker had a full schedule and was constantly booked up and usually over a year in advance. So rightfully so, his ministry would screen requests and often had to turn some down. This happened to our church, however our pastor took it to prayer as it was the Lord’s idea in the first place to send the request. Our pastor felt to send the secretary (who had the hard job of turning churches down) a thank you card with a bouquet of flowers. It just so happened that the speaker was in his secretary's office when she received the gift. Both of them totally surprised by the gift & thank you card for taking time to consider our request and the fact that we understood having to turn our churches request down. The long short of this story is the fact that this speaker has come to the church every year since and an amazing relationship has been formed between both ministries. The gift opened the way for relationship. In Genesis we read an account where Jacob was preparing to meet his brother for the first time from years of family feud over the blessing & birthright Jacob stole from Esau. Unsure of the outcome for the soon to be encounter, Jacob tries to ease into the meeting by sending gifts ahead of him. In the end he finds favour with his brother and the relationship is restored. A gift is a simple act of love, compassion & kindness offered to someone and it is best given with no strings attached. Choose to be a giver without an agenda and watch how God uses it to bless and increase the relationship with the receiver.   

Flavour Sensation  

Proverbs 17:22; A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing...

 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “a teaspoon of sugar helps the medicine go down”. Truthfully for me, sugar helps almost everything go down! I guess you could say sugar brings joy to my tastebuds. As believers in Christ the bible often refers to us as having a flavour, in fact Jesus said “we are the salt of the earth”. We are to bring a flavour into our world which will cause those around us to crave more of what we have to offer. Our scripture reference continues by saying “A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Everyone one of us are born broken and born into a broken world. Jesus offers the fixing ingredient we need in our lives. Jesus fixes our relationship with God and this world. Jesus is like the sugar that makes everything go down. However He is only one part of the recipe to our lives, as we carry flavour also. We hold other ingredients that make up the flavour that others taste from our lives. Our thoughts, our speech, our attitudes are all ingredients that add to the recipe that make up the flavour of our lives. Jesus is an attractive flavour to someones tastebud but if He's mixed with our foul thoughts, speech or attitudes, the fullness of our flavour gets spoiled. Jesus said “if the salt loses its saltiness, what is it good for?” Our thoughts, actions, attitudes and speech need ingredients such as the the fruits of the spirit in our lives; love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It doesn’t matter how much sugar you put in the mix, if these other ingredients aren’t there, it will just taste sour to those around us. Paul wrote to the church of Philippi, "whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellent, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these thing." Ask for Gods help with your ingredient mix as you prepare the flavour others are going to taste today. What can you do to provide the medicine and healing that someone may need? Choose to be a flavour sensation! 

Well what were you expecting? 

So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Acts 3:5

Low expectation will breed low results. If I set my sights on a low and attainable goal, then that is where I'll find my result. I will obtain a low and attainable result. The passion and dreams I carry inside are bigger than that! Do you relate with this? God has placed a desire to reach higher, to accomplish more and not be settled with the attainable. I've heard it said, if your dreams are unattainable with your own abilities they must be Gods. So what do we do with those dreams? Do we just sit back and let God perform them or do we actively begin the pursuit? We must begin to put one step in front of the other and begin to head in the direction God has led us in. If we are faithful to begin the pursuit, he matches our faith and supersedes our expectations. In our scripture text; Peter & John come to this lame man who day after day only had the expectation of his needs met for that day. But here he encounters the Lord who wanted to meet his needs for tomorrow instead. Don't let the needs of today prevent you from focusing on what God has for your tomorrow. Keep your expectations and confidence on the fact that He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to perform it and carry it on to completion. (Philippians 1:6) Keep your expectation in check and continue to run after the dream God has given you, God has your back!! Don't settle for second best with your results.