An “indescribable” gift

So I gave myself yesterday (Saturday) off from writing on the blog – not because I was being a procrastinator – because yesterday was a full day of rest for my home, and, categorically, rest = rest. PERIOD.


Sunday, Nov. 18 – Today’s take-away: You have been given an indescribable gift. Be engaged where God has planted you, and be where He needs you to be.

Today was a day of service to others. We often think of service only in the aspects of helping those around us who may have close to nothing, those who may have nothing at all, or ones who may be in a very bitter situation.

But, in our service to others, God can use the gifts that He gave to us: a smiling face, the bread we eat, an avid conversationalist, a listening ear…all in order to especially touch and impact those who need it the most. Can God gain glory through your service, gifts and actions to others?

I was reminded of this in church today: giving of ourselves – but doing it cheerfully and as unto the Lord.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
    their righteousness endures forever.”[a]

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

– II Corinthians 9:[6], 7-15

Sometimes, a gentle reminder is all we need in order to place things back into perspective – to remind us of God’s Word and call planted deeply within us. Reactivating it when we are presented with this reminder is how we can and will become effective – a results driver.

Can God get an R.O.G.I. (return on His gift investment) in you? What has He given to you to freely share in order to uplift and affect another?

Today was a good day.

Today was a good day.

My husband and I spent the day together – we motivated each other, pursued and completed our daily and personal goals together, reflected and conversed, prepared for the current and coming season, and entered into a Godly period of rest together.

When it comes to husband and wife marital relationships, your best strength is in the value of each other. Learn to practice and encourage habits that give way to the reflection and praise of your best assets:

– Genesis 2:21-23

21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;

22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.

***

– I Corinthians 11:7-12

A man ought not to cover his head,[b] since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 It is for this reason that a woman ought to have authority over her own[c] head, because of the angels. 11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. 12 For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God.

***

Work together. Learn each other. Know one another intimately. It’s a trust.

“For, what you water will grow.” – quote by Seneca Howard

Take a moment for yourself and enjoy.

It’s often the littlest things that count.

Take delight, and enjoy an occasion or two.

An early morning coffee ride and a short walk within my cul-de-sac were my two moments of joy – simple activities that both rested and rejuvenated my spirit today – a simple time away from the on-going churn of work.

While it’s very important to work hard to complete and maintain your obligations, it’s equally as important to remember to take a moment for yourself.

With the constant busyness of the everyday-isms – work, home, health, life as we know it – it’s all too easy to get caught amid the chaos, prioritize one thing over another, and put aside our best needs for our best self.

In vain you rise early
    and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
    for he grants sleep to[a] those he loves.

– Psalm 127:2

When we step aside, take a moment, and rest, we can find sweet relief knowing that our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ has taken the reigns and will ensure that we have all that we need.

Walk, take a deep breath, smell the flowers and enjoy the breeze  – have a ‘cuppa coffee, and drink your favorite beverage. Find some time for you, because time is constantly moving – and we are, too. Rest and personal time must be placed on our calendars and also on our daily lists of “to-dos.”

In your rest period, practice trusting in God, handing over those thoughts, worries, hustles and bustles as you allow Him to give you perfect peace…and He’ll take care of everything else.

Guest Blogged by Seneca Howard

Seneca Howard is the Pastor of Radical Faith Ministries, an author and motivational speaker who encourages individuals to pursue passionate purpose with undoubted faith towards God – even when facing incredible challenges. His mission and purpose is to help others grow in God.

Let your CONSISTENCY produce a harvest

consistency /kənˈsɪst(ə)nsi/

Origin: Late 16th century (denoting permanence of form): from late Latin consistentia, from consistent- ‘standing firm’ (see consistent).

1. Consistent behaviour or treatment.
‘the consistency of measurement techniques’

1.1 The quality of achieving a level of performance which does not vary greatly in quality over time.

– Oxford Dictionaries


con·​sis·​ten·​cy | \kən-ˈsi-stən(t)-sē

1a archaic : condition of adhering together : firmness of material substance b: firmness of constitution or character

3b: harmony of conduct or practice with profession

– Merriam-Webster


***

This evening my husband asked me, “What were you anxiously looking for in the mail today?”

My answer:  “My sale paper”

Husband:  “What day is it supposed to come?”

Me:  “On Wednesday.”

***

The process of carrying out a consistent action will often produce favorable results.

Yes, I’m excited about my sales. On Tuesday evenings I excitedly anticipate the next day’s mail arrival; this week, I could hardly contain myself with all of the money-saving adventures… I walked out to the mailbox twice today; I’m ready and waiting for it each and every week.

Like the consistency of rain and sunlight after a seed is planted, thus producing new growth, so can consistency in our actions and habits produce a positive result in our lives.

I Kings 18:42b-46

42b But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees.

43 Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.”

The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.”

Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. 44 Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.”

Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’”

45 And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. 46 Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.

Being consistent  about how we pursue the seeds that we plant before God while in prayer, quiet thought, perhaps even in conversation, or in the depths of our hearts is what will bring about dynamic change in your life. As you meditate before God and consistently put into practice those things that you have intimately relayed to Him, watch as He proves you, protects you and produces a rich harvest within your life.

A mid-week grocery sale paper? Humph, seems a bit silly, eh?

Or is it?

Staying prepared – in season and out of season

THE highlight of my day/night was visiting the grocery store in preparation for our upcoming weeks’ grocery and Thanksgiving.

I really love a good sale, and when I say this, I don’t mean spending money, I mean preserving it.

Over the past few months, I’ve tried to more attentively respond to the balance, rest and peace requirements that the Lord has placed upon our home in this season of our lives – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, financially & more. Learning to let go of a few things by relinquishing “good habits” you’ve been in tune with for quite some time and attaining and working towards even better ones is somewhat a process of persistence.

From week to week, I look forward to the planning that accompanies this new, sweet place in our lives, gathering information, storing it and plucking from my storehouse when God requires the use of it. It sounds “easier said than done,” and, yes, some days it’s a project of pursuance to remain persistent; but somehow, I look forward to this prepared place and excitedly approach it – even when I grow weary, even when I may worry.

A Season of Preparation

With the changing season, the busyness of Thanksgiving in the air, Black Friday, the travel plans of many, and Christmas just on the cusp, just the thought of being out among an even busier setting of chaos can be a bit arousing. So I set my sight on getting my Thanksgiving and weekly grocery getup out of the way beforehand.

I planned my stores, my deals, savings, points and rewards, envelopes and cash system for the next two weeks, set a budget and stepped out like nobody’s business.

Hubbie: “You ready?”

Me: “Yeah, let’s go!”

I peeked at my final few deals for this week, online and app-carted my next week deals (i.e., tomorrow based on my sale paper, LOL), grabbed my newspaper, ran out the door and excitedly caroused the aisles gettin’ my pre-Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving dinner and post-Thanksgiving household groceries. Boy, was this my kinda fun!

***

So why a ‘season of preparation?’ Ants, squirrels, birds, bears and other animals prepare in the season prior to be ready for and unrestricted by barriers in the season ahead. It seems an unlikely thing to call this a season of preparation, as we should have, based on nature’s response, prepared for the Thanksgiving/Fall season in the summer – perhaps even September or October, right?

Wrong.

As the natural seasons show us signs of the coming season ahead, so does God give us clues, nudges and insights on how we should prepare for “what’s next” in our lives.

So, it’s not so much in that we should have prepared way in advance for Thanksgiving; it’s how we’re responding to God’s instructions and preparing in the nowthis season – for what God has called us and assigned us to in the next season…of our lives, which is relevant to us both spiritually and naturally.

1At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’

“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’

“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’

12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

– Matthew 25:1-13

How can this scripture help us prepare in our everyday lives?

As with the parable of the ten virgins, amid the busyness of life it is easy to forget, to get caught up, to put things off or to even just go with the flow – to do this instead of that, to let our weariness or same ‘ol habits get the very best of us.

I’ve been here before. Sometimes, we make it all too easy on ourselves to be here again.

But often times, these consistent inconsistencies within our lives create room for future detriment. And it pushes aside a Godly process for a process of our own. A comfy one.

Sometimes, doing things differently than our “every day norm” helps get us to a better place. Perhaps we didn’t realize how quickly we “threw in the towel” and reverted back to our comfy norm.

How can we stay prepared?

By being like the five wise virgins. As women, there are so many things that God impresses upon our hearts – even as life’s busyness stirs all around us, even as the tugs to “just do it this way for now” or “next time” pull hard.

Perhaps as a wife or mother you’re a great organizer; a great teacher; a great conversationalist; a great listener; a great cook; a great crafter; an incredible business woman; a great athlete; a stellar homemaker. Know that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). If God speaks it to you, then He’s given you the power and the strength to see it through.

As He speaks to you and impresses things for your home upon your heart, respond to His nudge; nurture your response to God; place your concerns in Him; and continue to be at your best for Him – and for your home.

What is our BEST effort for God?

After a few years of what seemed like the longest separation of space and time, I am now able to satisfy my desire to continue forward with Passion Series.

There’s just one little thing…

I still don’t seem to have the time.

I talk about Passion Series ALL of the time. I desperately wanted to get back to it, but business, timelessness, weariness and other pertinent things didn’t allow for me to be as hands-on as I’d like. I’ve been mentioning it more and more these days, and in hearing my desire for it, my husband gave one simple, yet effective solution: Write down three sentences that summarized your day at the end of each night, let that be the day’s blog, then turn it into a larger more in-depth blog at the end of the week, allowing it to serve as a source of inspiration to those who read it. Then, I will see my return to Passion Series fulfilled.

Seems easy, right?

So here I sit… just three simple lines. And I couldn’t really figure out what today’s take-away was. What was so inspiring? What is worthy of a recap? Of sharing with others?

I almost gave in. I’m tired, struggled through all day. The goal of getting these three lines recorded came to my remembrance at least three times tonight.

I’m tired, struggled through all day. I really just want to go to bed.

***

I’d spent a portion of the day sharing with my sister about how hard it had been for me to sleep over the past few days.

As I tried to get a bit of a nap today, all I could feel was pain throbbing in my arms. My right leg shakes profusely. My eyes dart about on their own – a nystagmus – another quirky side effect of my current health position.

I. Am. Annoyed. And tired.

She shares back with me about God’s restoration and peace.

***

I’m tired, struggled through all day. I really just want to go to bed. I can feel a sleepiness beginning to settle in, and I am totally looking forward to it. Nothing is going to stop me from heading down this path of golden sleep fulfilled. No-thing.

But the need to share those three little lines tugged at me, and tugged at meand tugged! So I sit down, grab my PC, and pay a bill. An email. An account update. A Facebook business page. Instagram. Google Drive. Save. Ok, the blog. Look at stats. Something looks funny… Water. Where’d my water go? There it is. Sip of water. ‘Fridge. Sip of Coke. Oh – phone’s at 80%. I should probably plug that up. Couch. Back to Facebook. I start flipping through old posts of the Passion Series Facebook page, still not yet committing to those three little lines that I must share as my day’s review, still planning to feel the calm and quiet of the room, letting myself slip away into the much-needed restfulness that the calm of my home presents. Then I see it…

That post from February 2, 2016. No fancy graphic, no accompanying photo – only crisp black lettering atop a solid white background: “God requires my BEST effort…no matter what…”

Funny how God brings things back full circle. My very. own. words.

Ah, OK. OK. I see God. This!

Suddenly I know what today’s take-away is and why I must – just must – write about it right now.

What is our best effort for God?

Obedience. We ask for so much from God – things that we deem as “oh-so-simple” things for Him to fulfill. But when He requires a little – just a little – in return from us, sometimes that giving to Him in return is soooo hard. Yet, we still look in hopeful expectation for positive results – for our environment to suddenly change – for God to grant our every day requests in some miracle-esque type of form. Yet, the tiniest miracle is in what we can actually give back to our Lord in order to see His Will manifest in our lives.

What can we give back to Him? How can we be better and reap rewards in our lives? Through Obedience.

I Samuel 15:22 (read vs. 22-24): And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

When we put forth our best effort, in obedience and in accordance with His Will, we will see the fulfillment of His promises and will reap immediate returns.

I really am having quite the bit of fun writing.

For today, I have conquered my “three lines.” I have given back to God my very best.

I am an Overcomer: Finding renewed strength in Him

I realized today that I am an Overcomer.

As I approached today, I was very weary and lethargic – a side effect of some of my recent health concerns. Although I did not feel very well, I had a desire to serve the Lord today and to worship Him. In this, He gave me new strength –

While He didn’t remove all of my discomfort, He allowed me to see things in His way – to spend time with Him, learning, and sitting comfortably in His presence.

Sometimes, our desire to fulfill God’s will is enough, and sitting quietly in His presence is where we gain our strength – strength of mind, strength of peace, strength of character, strength to trust Him wholly, strength and clarity of thought and presence.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. – Isaiah 40:31

Thank You, Lord, for strengthening me, for renewing me and for allowing me to see things anew today. Today I learned that when I am weak you are there. Today I learned that you will show me new things, even in the most uncomfortable of places. Thank you, Lord, for You.

When you feel the most uncomfortable, know that you may call on and rely upon the Lord, and He (and He alone) will be your source of comfort, guidance, strength and renewed peace to continue moving forward with the plans that He has for your life.

Written November 12, 2018 | Blogged November 11, 2018

Being Available to God

When we say that we are available to God, we make time and room for Him to move as He sees fit for our best purpose. This means we must first clear out old, dark places within our lives where we have allowed death and immobility to reside. “Get up! And get moving,” God says.

I’m Available…

“Use me, Lord to show someone the way and enable them to say…my storage is empty, and I am available to you.”

Listen: I’m Available by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

When we become obedient to God and allow Him to step into position in our lives, the glory of the Lord can be reflected in us, around us, and about us – allowing for His light to radiate within someone else’s life, motivating them to make room for God in a manner that incredibly changes their life as they begin moving forward in their God-driven purpose.

Allow God to begin a breaking away in your life that will promote healing, wisdom, and dramatic change as you serve Him in all that you do. For the eyes of the Lord search the earth to find one who is worthy [READING: 2 Corinthians 16:9a]. Can you be found?

PS – Kaye

On being relevant…

Originally blogged February 5, 2016

So often, we busy ourselves with the pressure of being relevant. And I don’t think we even recognize the magnitude of the pressure we place on ourselves to be…and stay…relevant. This “relevancy” that I am speaking of is not one of arrogance, of pride, or of self-conceit…

…it’s the need to or feeling of being noticed, present to others, significant…important.

For a little while I struggled with the significance of being relevant. As you know, I was an avid blogger, writer, speaker, socialite, entrepreneur…for a while I was relevant and needed by others. I was a very present voice in the conversation. As a marketer and business manager, being relevant in the industry is synonymous with your career. If you’re not an active participant in the conversation, as the industry grows and changes – especially nowadays with social media and our vast technological advancements – you will quickly be left behind. Forgotten. A Has Been.

I love marketing, food & cooking, coffee, culture, creativity and God. These are all passionate conversations and #trends with which I was an active participant…

When I launched Passion Series in September 2011, the focus was very specific with broad opportunities: to focus my passionate energy, time and love on God; to explore this new place with Him; to develop business His way; and to let God define where I should focus my passionate energy.

As Passion Series grew, so did I. I never imagined it would turn into such a learning process for me. I began early Monday morning Bible Studies (Coffee Connection), where I would teach the Word of God to others who were interested in certain topics. What I was teaching others became what God taught to me. He taught me how to love: my husband, my work, my family – and ALL that He has set before me. My spiritual life grew, and I matured.

Then I became exhausted. Too tired to be motivated for Passion Series. Too tired to blog. Too tired to think about topics – to think about the process. Too tired to cook. Busy with all the things that God had placed within my hands. Frustrated at the time I no longer had. Too tired to create. Desiring to stay an active participant in the world and industry around me… Then I began to wonder the “relevancy” of even being relevant. I hated social media. I hated “the crop” [the part of the picture that everyone gets to see on social media, less the mayhem and truth behind the cropped and beautified portion of the photo, words]. I hated the fact that I no longer had the time to focus on one of the things I am MOST passionate about: coffee & its culture. When will I get to do what I WANT again? Why God? Why? <– but isn’t this why I started Passion Series?

So I just tapped out…the very things that I once loved became distasteful to me.

It’s been nearly three years since I’ve had a consistent blog post on Passion Series. It’s been almost four since I’ve had an opportunity to consistently touch my love – coffee.

When I compare the words that I spoke on day one of Passion Series, the words that I will spend this time exploring passions in God and that He may shave some things off and add what He may, I realize that those words have come to life. They have been God’s process and could have only been manifested through His Words to me.

During my time away, what I didn’t realize is that God DID allow me to explore, to create, to love and to learn. But it was His process of passionate learning, passionate understanding and passionate growth. As I write these words, they are flowing like never before. Because this is MY story – MY process – that God had to grow me through.

Now, I realize that the very thing I had set before God, and the process that He took me through was a Passion Series: a series of events; a series of emotions; a series of questions and frustrations to God; a series of growing, learning, and maturing; a series of events that led me to the full understanding of just what and WHO I should be relevant for.

Whoever you are, and wherever you are, whatever you may be feeling irrelevant about: do not worry about finding things to add to the “value” or “importance” of who you are. Wait on the completion of God’s process, continue to seek and petition Him through it, and let Him add and take away as He sees fit. For there is no better relevancy than to be important to the Lord.

PS – Kaye

Loving God’s Way

Love…is not self-seeking.

…is not easily angered.

It keeps no record of wrongs. – I Corinthians 13:5

Love Never Fails.

I write from my heart, understanding that I have not lived up to the definition of love. That I have not lived up to God’s standard of love. When we don’t live up to God’s standard of love, we cause a deep infraction of hurt and sever the incredible bond of a marital union. We cause separation among ourselves. We begin to look at one another for who we are not; and we make our lover our enemy.

I am guilty.

What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

We often lay aside our union rather than laying aside our differences. In doing so, we lay aside God’s command that helps us form a more perfect union, creatively and purposefully designed in His image.

My selfishness tore my husband down. My own selfishness created a sever in our union. Wives, when we only desire to see our own rightness in our husbands’ corrections, we lay aside God’s standard for a standard of our own. We tear apart a pre-purposed marital union that was specifically designed by God to be effective. In His significant design and pairing of our spouse, He created something that can only be unique to the threads of our beings. That is why it is essential that we follow His Word and “cleave” to one another as we become one. In your oneness you are made strong. You are not broken, and you are His.

A three-fold chord is not easily broken. In our obedience to the partnership God designed, we can follow His leadership as He strengthens and guides our marriages – but only if we remain in obedience is where we’ll find this unique gift.

As women, we sometimes let our emotions rule. We forget the true leadership in our home, and we look for reparations to be made that speak to our emotions. Who has God made to be the head? What has God mandated? How are we following when we are leading with our own desires? How can our marriage be made whole when we can only see it ‘our way?’

While we’re busy worrying about our husbands ‘making it right,’ we’re also busy ignoring his leadership, forgetting about his emotions and elevating ourselves above him. In my own marriage I am guilty of leading with my emotions. I am guilty of ignoring my husband’s leadership – God’s standard of marriage. I am guilty of killing my husband’s heart only in thought of my own being restored.

How can we become better wives? How can we usher in restoration in our marriages?

By letting go of our own standard and living in God’s standard. Understand the essence of the man that God has put before you. Learn to live in his leadership. Love him for ‘who you are.’ Learn to love by God’s pattern. And lean not to your own understanding. Love by God’s way, and in Him you will find peace.