B Moments, marathon

Your Purpose Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

This is our B moment. Our moment to be still…to be fed by the Word of God…to be grateful.

Scripture reference: Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Today I am thinking about how my purpose is more of a marathon than a sprint.

When I look at the Scriptures, I think there’s one person who is an excellent example of looking at his assignment from God as more of a marathon. That man would be Zerubbabel. We read about him in the book of Ezra. He was a descendant of King David, and his task was to rebuild Solomon’s Temple.

While he was rebuilding the temple, he faced a lot of opposition both in and out of the rebuilding camp. There was a lot of infighting among the workers on the inside, and there were a lot of difficulties on the outside among the local citizens. There were also construction delays over which he had no control. It was a large, difficult project for numerous reasons, but Zerubbabel was up to the task.

The key lesson I take away from Zerubbabel’s example is that he knew how to define a short term distraction. He did not allow those short term issues to deter him from his long term focus. He kept a clear vision of his end goal. He essentially saw his work for God as a marathon and not a sprint.

Sometimes I can confuse the two so to get back on track, I stand on this scripture, “ Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

Please share this reflection as others desire to be inspired.

So today, realize that God has a marathon and not a sprint for you to run.

B Moments, full circle

Press On Until You Come Full Circle

This is our B moment. Our moment to be still…to be fed by the Word of God…to be grateful.

Scripture reference: 1 Corinthians 13:11 (ESV)

Transcription:

Today, I am thinking about the power of coming full circle.

Recently, we discussed what is possible when we choose to shift our thoughts and words. Specifically, we talked about the wealthy woman the prophet Elisha would come to know.

Recall that when Elisha prophesied the woman would have a son the following year, she begged him not to lie to her. In other words, she asked him not to get her hopes up. As she talked to him, she trembled with fear.

Now, fast forward several years. This woman no longer trembled with fear. She had become a faithful matriarch and the rock of her home. When her only son died in her arms, she rose to the occasion as her faith told her not to claim his death.

As you read the passage, you even sense that her tone and posture had changed. This woman had come full circle. She had mastered how to move from a place of fear to one of faith.

Now I ask you: with what situation in your life do you need to come full circle? Where do you need to rise up to the occasion and let your faith replace your fears?

As you think about that, remember these words: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 (ESV)

Please share this reflection as others desire to be inspired.

So today, press on until you come full circle.

B Moments, unsung

Take the Time to Honor Your Unsung Heroes

This is our B moment. Our moment to be still…to be fed by the Word of God…to be grateful.

Scripture reference: Mark 10:45 (ESV)

Today, I am honoring the unsung hero.

While we’re all familiar with the extraordinary people in the Bible, including Moses, Noah, Mary, and the disciples, there were other influential people who were not mentioned as frequently, but who stood in the shadows to help carry forward God’s message.

One person who was particularly significant was Tychicus in the New Testament. As we know, Paul authored more than half of the New Testament. What we sometimes fail to acknowledge though, is that Tychicus helped Paul spread the gospel once it was written.

Tychicus’ role was to go to certain towns ahead of Paul to set the stage. In other words, he would speak directly to the hearts of the people before Paul came to address them.

In modern terms, we would most likely refer to Tychicus as Paul’s opening act. He prepared the crowd so that by the time Paul reached the stage, so to speak, they were ready to receive his message and embrace his teachings.

Personally, I must confess that this is an area I had to grow into. There was a time in my life when, if I did something great, I wanted to be out in front. I didn’t mind serving, but I didn’t want to serve in the shadows.

Yet, what I have learned is that the more my actions are motivated by my spirit rather than by my ego, the less public recognition matters to me. Also, it puts me in a place where I can acknowledge another person who is working in the shadows.

The next time you are serving in the shadows, let these words inspire you: “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45 (ESV)

Please share this reflection as others desire to be inspired.

So today, honor your unsung heroes.

B Moments, will

Press Toward the Center of God’s Will

This is our B moment. Our moment to be still…to be fed by the Word of God…to be grateful.

Scripture reference: Romans 12:2 (ESV)

Today, I am thinking about how the safest place to be is in the center of God’s will.

We are wrapping up our series on the distinction between an adventure and a quest. If you’ve been listening, you’ll remember that an adventure is about you while a quest is about something greater than yourself, where your journey leads you to helping others and you are redefined in the process.

Sometimes we resist embarking upon a quest because we are fearful. This reminds me of one woman’s account of being in the center of God’s will. The woman runs a nonprofit here in Chicago where she works with children who live in some of Chicago’s most at-risk neighborhoods.

Once, I heard an interview with the woman where she was asked whether she was frightened to serve in at-risk neighborhoods. Her response had such a profound impact on me that I will never forget it.

She said that she knew deep in her heart that God had called her to do this work and that as long as she stayed in the center of His will, she felt safe and protected. In other words, the safest, most fulfilling, most rewarding place for her was in the center of what He was calling her to do.

What do you believe God is calling you toward today but you haven’t fully committed to? Instead of being in the center of His will, you may still be dancing around the edge. Yet the closer you move to the center of what He is calling you to do, the closer you’ll be to the most rewarding place.

Be encouraged to move from the outskirts and closer to the center as you cling to these words: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” Romans 12:2 (ESV)

Please share this reflection as others desire to be inspired.

So today, keep pressing toward that center.

B Moments, Easter Monday

Begin Your Quest This Easter Monday

This is our B moment. Our moment to be still…to be fed by the Word of God…to be grateful.

Scripture reference: Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Today is what we traditionally call Easter Monday. This is still a day for rejoicing because the entire Lent season has been about spiritual renewal and going deeper to go higher.

For me personally, this spiritual renewal is about being used in God’s service. I am reminded of a time when I heard a pastor explain the difference between someone being on a quest and on an adventure.

The pastor explained that an adventure is personal. It’s about your journey. You can stop or turn back whenever you choose. Some families might even take an adventure this week as many students are on spring break.

Yet a quest is about something greater than yourself. It is when your journey leads you to helping others and turning back or giving up is not so easy. When you go on a quest, you are redefined in the process.

When we turn to the Scriptures, let’s remember the apostle Paul’s life. He professed in Philippians 3:12 that he would keep working toward that day when he was finally all that Christ Jesus saved him for and wanted him to be.

As you have been spiritually renewed this Lent season, how will you go deeper to go higher? What will you embark upon that is greater than yourself? As you think about that, cling to one of my favorite verses: “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Please share this reflection as others desire to be inspired.

So today, embark upon your life’s quest and never look back.

B Moments, help

Make Good Use of the Help God Sends

This is our B moment. Our moment to be still…to be fed by the Word of God…to be grateful.

Scripture reference: Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV)

Today, I am thinking about when God sends us help.

As this is holy week, we are walking Christ’s path to Calvary. On his walk, we know that Jesus carried his cross. Yet there was a point when a man named Simon, who came from the city of Cyrene, was forced to help Jesus carry his cross.

Although we’re all familiar with the story of Simon helping Jesus, we often forget that Simon didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. All of the Scriptural accounts show that he was forced, so it is likely that the only reason he helped Jesus was that he feared for his own life.

However, I recently began to look at this passage from a different perspective. In this story, we see that we never know who God will choose to aid us. It could be a willing spirit, or it could be an unwilling spirit. Nonetheless, God has sent them to help us through a difficult time. It might not be perfect, but it is to get us to the next phase on our journey.

We also know that Jesus had fallen a few times on his way to Calvary. Yet God doesn’t put more on His children than they can bear. Therefore, when He sends aid, we shouldn’t judge it because it’s not the help we were envisioning. We should honor it because it is there to serve a purpose for a season.

As we hold onto that, let us remember these words: “I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 (ESV)

Please share this reflection as others desire to be inspired.

So today, make good use of the help God sends your way.

B Moments, title

You Can Effect Change Without a Title

This is our B moment. Our moment to be still…to be fed by the Word of God…to be grateful.

Scripture reference: 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

Today, I am thinking about how you don’t need a title to effect change.

In this series, we’re focusing on how we interact with those in positions of power. When I turn to the Scriptures, I think about the story of Cornelius. The Scriptures describe Cornelius as a devout man who feared God. He gave generously to charity, and he prayed regularly.

One afternoon, an angel of the Lord appeared before him and said, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have not gone unnoticed by God.” The angel then instructed him to send for Peter, and a few days later, Peter appeared in his home.

However, when Peter arrived, he told Cornelius that it was against Jewish law to enter a Gentile’s home. Yet Peter quickly realized that God wanted him to release that way of thinking.

Later that day, in the home of Cornelius, both Gentiles and Jews met, and the Holy Spirit entered the home and fell on all of them. Cornelius effected change not as a Jewish elite with a title, but as a mere Gentile.

The story of Cornelius reminds me of how these young students across the country are responding to the recent mass killing in Parkland, Florida. These young people only bear the title of student. They don’t hold an office and many are not even old enough to vote.

Yet despite their lack of title, they are pledging to help change gun legislation in our country in an effort to save more lives.

Let us release any fear we might have about effecting change as we remember these words: “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)

Please share this reflection as others desire to be inspired.

So today, ask yourself, who needs a title?

B Moments, role

God Will Turn Your Simple Role into Greater

This is our B moment. Our moment to be still…to be fed by the Word of God…to be grateful.

Scripture reference: Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Today, I am thinking about how God can take a simple role and position you with it for greater.

Recently, we’ve been talking about how King Saul had fallen out of grace with God. Soon thereafter, God chose David as the new anointed one to serve as king. Yet by the looks of David’s life and the various roles he played, one may not see him as a king.

For example, David often played the harp for Saul. As the spirit of the Lord left Saul, Saul went into bouts of deep depression, and David was sent to play the harp for Saul to soothe his mind.

In another instance, David was a shepherd boy where most of his life’s work was tending sheep. In fact, there was a time when all David did was go back and forth between playing the harp for Saul and tending sheep. Meanwhile, David’s brothers appeared to have a more prominent role as they served in the army.

However, one day David’s father sent David to the battlefield to bring lunch to his brothers. It was this moment and all of those moments that seemed so simple that positioned David perfectly for one of the greatest accomplishments of his life: defeating Goliath.

So, although you might feel like you’re in a simple role that’s not necessarily leading anywhere, have faith that God is leading you to greater by clinging to my favorite Scripture, which is: “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

Please share this reflection as others desire to be inspired.

So today, go forth knowing that God can take a simple role and turn it into greater.

B Moments, minority

Your Minority Is the Majority with God

This is our B moment. Our moment to be still…to be fed by the Word of God…to be grateful.

Scripture reference: Mark 10:31 (NKJV)

Today, I am thinking about what it feels like to be in the minority.

When you’re in the minority for a belief, it can be frustrating that most of those around you believe one thing and you believe another. You might even expend a lot of energy trying to convince them to see things your way.

I thought about this when I read about Moses, who sent out twelve spies to survey the Promised Land. After forty days of investigating the land, ten of the spies returned to tell him that the land itself was good, but there was absolutely no way they could overcome the people who occupied the land.

However, the last two spies were Joshua and Caleb, and they saw things very differently. They put more stock in God’s promise and less in what they saw with their natural eyes. In other words, they saw that the Amalekites, who lived in the Promised Land at the time, were giants, but they also knew that, in God’s strength, they could defeat those giants.

Yet Joshua and Caleb were definitely in the minority.

Sometimes I need to be encouraged when I’m steadily trying to remind those around me to see things differently. One thing that helps me cling to my belief is a saying I heard once and never forgot. It goes, “Keep your faith because one with God is, in fact, a majority.”

Remember that saying as you cling to these few words: “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10:31 (NKJV)

Please share this reflection as others desire to be inspired.

So today, know that your minority is really a majority.

B Moments, unscripted

Go Free and Live Unscripted

This is our B moment. Our moment to be still…to be fed by the Word of God…to be grateful.

Scripture reference: Philippians 4:13 (ESV)

Today, I am thinking about the power of an unscripted life.

Recently, I talked about how Peter boldly confronted the religious council of his day to tell them that he had healed a man who had been lame for decades. Most importantly, he told them that he had healed this man in the name of Jesus Christ.

The council, of course, was threatened by this power, and Peter knew that. However, instead of cowering before them, he stood boldly before them, unscripted, and spoke from his heart—even though he knew that they had the authority to take his life right there on the spot.

When I think about the boldness of Peter’s spirit, it reminds me of a sermon I once heard this pastor deliver. Even though her message was inspirational, even rousing to some degree, she chose to read from her notes the entire time. I kept waiting for her to put her notes down, to speak to my soul, and to tell us what God sent her to tell us that morning.

Yet, she remained scripted.

To live authentically, we must be able to trust our own voice, to let our hair down, to allow the words that God put in our heart to come out, knowing that everything will work for the greater good when we do.

We have to be able to live in the moment unscripted, or at least strive to do so.

If you are like that pastor sometimes (trust me, I’ve been in that spot, too), let us cling to these words: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13 (ESV)

Please share this reflection as others desire to be inspired.

So today, go free and live unscripted.