Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Keeping Connections Strong

Healthy relationships take intentional investments. I find this to be even more important as time goes by and you become more comfortable with the people in your life. Even though Joel and I work together, minister together and constantly see each other, we are intentional about making time for one another outside of our daily obligations. We love to take walks together or ride bikes. Sometimes, we just get in the car and go for a drive. We make time to join our hearts together without distractions. Because we spend quality time together, I know what to expect from Joel, and he knows what to expect from me. We make sure we connect on a personal level which keeps our relationship strong.
I believe we also have to be intentional with our children. We can't always be "on the job" as parents. We need to see their gifts and talents and share their ideas. We need to create personal connections with them and enjoy them as individuals. I enjoy my children as much today as I did when they were little. I learn from them and appreciate their ideas and feedback. 
I believe that one of the easiest and most profound ways to connect is by sharing a meal together. It doesn't matter which meal, but studies show that sharing at least one meal a day builds a bond of trust. Children who share meals with their parents are more confident and less likely to fall into peer pressure. Always remember that the seeds you plant into your relationships now will develop into a bountiful harvest in the future. Sow good seeds into your relationships and always keep the connections strong!
"Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." (Ephesians 4:3, NIV)

Monday, January 30, 2017

What Are You Tending To?

At some point in life, most people take a look at their circumstances and think, "If only… If only I had a better job…If only my spouse were like so-and-so…If only I had gone to college…If only I had the opportunities so-and-so had." We look around and think everyone else has it better than we do. But I believe comparison is just a trap of the enemy to get us off course and keep us from God's best. Comparison is the thief of joy, and if the enemy can steal our joy, he has stolen our source of strength.
There's an old saying, "The grass is always greener on the other side." But I don't believe the grass is greener on the other side; I believe the grass is greener where you water it. In other words, we have to tend to the things that are important to us if we want to see those areas of our lives blossom and grow. If you want better relationships, you have to invest in the people around you. If you want a better job, you have to invest in your skill set to qualify for that job and then go after it.
We all have the capacity to come up higher. God has given us all tremendous opportunities, but if we are focused on what everyone else has, we'll miss out on what God has especially for us! 
Today, instead of comparing, decide to cultivate the dry, fallow areas of your life. Begin to water and invest in the areas in which you want to see change. Let God give you a new vision for your life. As you take responsibility and tend to what the Lord has given you, I believe He'll pour out His blessing. I believe you'll see new life and flourish beyond anything you could have ever hoped or dreamed.
"The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit…" (Proverbs 27:18, NIV)

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Don't Lose Your Shout

In scripture, Joshua and the people of Israel took over the entire city of Jericho when they obeyed God. Just like He said, they marched around the city for six days and then shouted praises on the seventh day. At the moment they shouted, the thick walls of the city came tumbling down.
Now maybe you've heard this story before, and if you haven't, I encourage you to read Joshua chapter six. Maybe you've been feeling like the people of Israel walking in circles for days. Maybe you aren't exactly sure what's going to happen in your circumstances, so you are just doing everything you can to keep going. I'm sure some of the people doubted. I'm sure they were tempted to quit. But they didn't. They didn't speak against their hope; in fact, they didn't say anything until they lifted up a shout of praise.
I want to remind you today that praise precedes the victory. Just like Joshua and the battle at Jericho, when you lift up a shout of praise, the walls and barricades in your life will come tumbling down. Those walls at Jericho were not small. They were so thick and strong that people lived inside the walls of the city like apartments. Maybe you feel like you are up against some tall, thick walls today. Let me tell you, those walls are no match for Almighty God! When you lift up a shout of praise, that is your battle cry! When you worship Him, He inhabits your praises; and when God shows up, every enemy must flee!
No matter what your circumstances look like, don't ever lose your shout. Don't ever lose your testimony. Don't let the enemy distract you from your mission. Keep pressing forward. Keep believing. Keep hoping, keep praising and keep shouting because there is Victory for all who call upon the name of the Lord!
"And at the seventh time, when the priests had blown the trumpets, Joshua said to the people, 'Shout, for the Lord has given you the city.'" (Joshua 6:16, ESV)

It's a new day here in Michigan and with the help of Jesus the Christ this Blog will once again start spreading the word of God for the benefit of both mankind and our animal friends.  Pastor Robert Paul

Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received - only what you have given: a full heart, enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. Francis of Assisi