Squadgoals: Two are Always Better Then One.

Spiritual Truth:
Two are better then one because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Sometimes I can be very reclusive. I enjoy time alone to hear myself think away from the distractions of the world. I’m confident in my independence.

While it is perfectly fine to enjoy quiet times of refreshing, too much time alone is not good for a person. Since the beginning of creation, God saw that it was not good for man to be alone and He created a helper, a companion, and friend.

As I look at my own life I can truly say, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today if it were not for some of my closest friends. Those who spoke life and truth over me, and opened my eyes to help me see my true potential and believe it.

The scripture goes on to say, “…pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”

Have you ever looked at someone in emotional distress and thought they were overreacting? Why are they upset over something so small? God is never bothered by sensitivity. Psalm 56:8 says, “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.”

God is keeping track of every tear, He has a journal of every bad day! God cares about all the little details of our day. The times when we feel nervous, shy, scared, sad, or overwhelmed.

I believe as Christians we have a responsibility to look at others with the love of Christ. We should ask God to help us see the potential in others and call it out. We have the power through Christ to completely change someone’s destiny in ways we cannot even imagine. Only God sees.

Let’s start building people up, instead of looking at what is wrong. When someone is sad, be the shoulder to cry on. Two are better then one. When someone is shy or scared take thier hand and lead them through the unseen fears. Don’t let your friends fall into fear, anxiety, or loneliness. Build eachother up.

Let’s look on others with eyes of faith and tell them what they can become. When we do this for others, God will not leave us alone. He will make sure to send someone alongside us to speak words of encouragement and call out our potential.

Go for the Gold

Spiritual Truth:
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.

~1 Corinthians 9:24

In the natural, when a professional runner competes in a race, you don’t see the runner looking around at the other runners curious how they are doing. No, each runner has their mind focused on one thing, the finish line, the prize!

They don’t waste valuable energy or time comparing themselves to the other racers. Every ounce of energy and strength goes into training to be better then they were the day before. That is because a runner knows that every single second on the clock counts.

How many seconds, minutes, and hours would you say are spent looking at Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and other social media sites comparing your life with the lives of others around you? Do you waste valuable time checking out the other runners?

Maybe social media is not your thing but there is another time waster that takes your focus off God. Off of running the race before you.

Keep the FOCUS on GOD

In our daily life, we should be focused in on God and His calling for us. If you know what God is calling you to, but He still has not opened all the doors, then prayer and praise should be the focus.

The psalmist, David, waited 10 years from the day he heard God’s calling on his life for God to fulfill His promise and walk into his calling to be King.

His example of prayer, praise, and meditation in the Psalms offers guidance on how we as Christians keep our focus on the prize in store for us.

Psalm 119:54-55 says, “I set Your instructions to music and sing them as I walk this pilgrim way. I meditate on your name all night, GOD, treasuring your revelation, O God.”

Keep God’s Word and His promises on your lips, and meditate on them day and night. This is how we as Christians run the race in such a way as to take hold of the prize God has for us.

Fashion Friday: Who Do You Look to for Approval?

Spiritual Truth:
Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety. ~Proverbs 29:25

Fashion month recently came to a close with fashion shows in London, New York, Milan, and Paris. The runways were full of the latest trends for the new season. I recently attended a local fashion show for an exclusive glimpse of new designer collections.

As I looked through all of the elegant fabrics, and lush colors, of the fall line I started to try on different outfits. Of course everyone at the show had an opinion on the outfits and styles they thought would look best on me.

“Wow! That jumpsuit looks fabulous on you, you should get it.”

“Green is definitely your color.”

The pressure was on as I went into the fitting room with several items and changed in and out of trendy jumpsuits and velvet jackets.

As I looked at my reflection in the mirror, I started to think more deeply about whom I was aiming to please with each new style?

When you wake up each morning and get ready for the day, who do you look to for approval? Do you want approval from your friends, neighbors, or co-workers perhaps?

Do you wake up with confidence in your God given abilities, talents, and gifts? Or do you wake up thinking about who you will see, where you will go, and how you will fit into the mold of those you will come into contact with throughout the day?

If you are going to be all that God created you to be you can’t focus on what others think of you. The opinions of others can become a distraction from God’s opinion and thoughts towards us.

If you change with every criticism trying to win the favor and acceptance of others, then you will go through life being manipulated and let people squeeze you into a box.

You will become like a chameleon changing your colors to match the scenery, but you will never be living life to the fullest extent if you are constantly changing for others.

It took me a long time to realize that I can’t keep every person in my life happy. It’s impossible to make everyone like me.

There will almost always be someone in life who will suggest I change in some way, shape or form. I will never win over all my critics.

Instead of trying to please people, just please God, Almighty. Try to be the person He made you to be and understand Your identity comes from Christ and not others.

You do not need others approval of your decisions only God’s approval. And when you have God’s approval no one can come against you. Romans 8:31 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

Praying the Word:
Lord, I seek You first today and pray that I will hear Your voice above all other voices. Your Word says that nothing can separate us from Your great love. Help me to find my identity in You each day.

Coffee Break: Where is Your Hope?

Spiritual Truth:
“… those who hope in Me will not be disappointed.”
~Isaiah 49:23

It’s Wednesday! We are halfway through another week and I’m taking a coffee break while meditating on this scripture from Isaiah about hope.

What are you putting your Hope in today? Are you putting your hope in other people, money, or possessions? Are you hoping that you will get a promotion at work, or a big break that will change your situation?

I use to put my hope in men. I thought if I meet the right person, had the right friends, or ran in certain circles that my life would be complete. I thought I would be comfortable and fulfilled.

But how many times do you turn on the news, or glance at magazine articles in the grocery store and see that even celebrities and politicians, those with money, power, and influence are still struggling.

Psalm 118:8 says, “It is far better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” This is because man-made kingdoms can and do fall.

The powerful promise from scripture, from the Almighty God tells us that when we put our hope in Him, we will never be disappointed!

Of course that doesn’t mean that things will always go our way. We live in a fallen world, and facing challenges is important for our growth as Christians.

There will be times we will face temporary disappointment or trials but the key word here is TEMPORARY. Those who place thier hope in the LORD will never permanently be disappointed.

God will guide your steps and down the road you will see that he will cause all things to work together for good.

God’s Kindom can never be shaken He is always fighting for those who love Him. Isaiah 49:25 says, “…I will contend with those who contend with you.” When God is on your side you will always experience victory.

Praying the Word:
Lord, I pray that I will look to You each day as my primary source of hope. When fear creeps in I ask You will remind me of Your great love and promises of good things on the road ahead.

Walking in Step with God.

Spiritual Truth:
Show me Your ways, Oh LORD; teach me Your paths. ~Psalm 25:4

Every day I go for a walk. I can program my phone to track my steps, and to map out a course for me. I can check my time, my speed, and my heartrate. Along the way I can view my navigation to ensure I am on course.

After I have run the same route several times, the way becomes habitual. I know where to turn left and right. I have the lights timed at each intersection. If there is sidewalk construction, or something blocking the path I don’t have to stop or turn around, I can recalculate and find my way around the obstacle, so that I get back on track quickly.

God Wants to Map Your Run

It is the same when you are in a relationship with God. He wants us to put our full trust in Him. He longs to be our personal navigation and map out the course for us. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.”

Be Still and Learn to Hear His Voice

The most important skill we as Christians can develop in our relationship with God is learning how to listen to Him, and hear His voice. The LORD has a unique journey mapped out for each of His children. There will be times when He says to “STOP!” There may be danger up ahead. God will say, “NO! Don’t go that way.”

Learning to distinguish God’s voice from the voices of others takes time, which is why cultivating a personal walk with the Lord is so important. Psalm 25:12 says, “Who, then, is the man that fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way chosen for him.”

When you pray for God to show you the way He will answer you. “The LORD confides in those who fear Him… ” (Psalm 25:14). He will open your eyes to see the truth of His plan for you. He will give you hope and a clear sense of leading towards the future He has prepared.

Praying the Word:
Lord God, thank you for Your loving kindness through the good and bad days in my life. In times of struggle, I ask that You would give me a strong sense of Your presence and power in my life. Please keep me on the path of Your calling and comfort me each day on my journey. Amen

Translation Tuesday: Which Biblical Translations speak to Your Heart?

Spiritual Truth
Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do. ~Ecclesiastes 9:7, NIV

This verse from Ecclesiastes sounds simply amazing! I serve a God who wants to see me enjoying my life and time on this earth! God sees my labor and approves of joyful moments to relax and savor good food and drink!

Eat, Drink, and be Merry

While some verses in the Bible seem self-explanatory “eat, drink, and be merry” other verses in the Bible might prove to be a bit more tricky to understand.

Have you ever read something that you didn’t fully comprehend? Did you reread the passage over a second time and maybe even a third looking for more insight but still struggled to grasp the concept?

When I was studying for the Series 7 Exam, I found most of the information was easy to understand and apply. However, there were some topics that completely baffled me no matter how many times I read the text and tried to understand the material.

I decided it would be helpful to purchase an additional study guide that presented the same material, only written in a different translation. By adding additional sources to my normal study plan I was able to understand some of the more difficult concepts and work through the problems with a higher success rate.

Once I experienced the added benefits of cross referencing material and reviewing different translations, I shared them with others who were also studying for big exams.

The Bible has how many Translations? An Entire Spectrum!

Did you know there are many different translations of scripture? Just google a Bible verse and you can find an entire spectrum.

There is the New International Version which is what I grew up on. The Kings James Version, which my grandparents grew up reading. In my 20’s I gravitated towards the The Message and I recently read there is now an emoji Bible!!!

πŸ“– of Genesis… πŸ˜‡ called the πŸ’‘πŸŒ€ & the darkness he called 🌠.

Translation Tuesday

Today, for Translation Tuesday I want to share just a few different translations of Ecclesiastes 9:7.

King James Bible
Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.

Contemporary English Version
So be happy and enjoy eating and drinking! God decided long ago that this is what you should do.

New Living Translation
So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this!

In every translation this verse has a similar message. When I want to go deeper, I will also look for additional scripture in other parts of the Bible on the same subject. For example:

Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 says,
There is nothing better for a man, than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour. This also I saw, that it was from the hand of God…

Ecclesiastes 8:15 has a very similar message:
So I commended the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a man under the sun than to eat and drink and be merry. For this joy will accompany him in his labor during the days of his life that God gives him under the sun.

The message which has been on repeat several times throughout the book of Ecclesiastes rings clear! Our days are numbered and God wants us to enjoy the toil and labor of our hands by eating and drinking with glad hearts in His presence.

Emoji Translation

➑️ πŸ” with πŸ˜€ and drink 🍷with a 😊❀ as ✝️ approves. πŸ™

Praying the Word:
Lord God, thank you for the many ways I can study Your word and learn new things about You. Teach me to love wisdom and become a skilled truth seeker.

The Power of Words

Spiritual Truth
Death and life are in the power of the tongue. ~Proverbs 18:21

As I child, I thought it was fun to repeat the phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” not really understanding the power of a spoken word.

Words are Powerful Weapons

The scripture today says the exact opposite of my childhood lyric, that both “death and life” are in the power of phrases we speak. Therefore, it is important to speak to others with care.

Sticks and stones cause physical wounds, and words cause emotional wounds. Since physical wounds are obvious to the eye, they receive quick attention and care for proper healing, yet emotional wounds often go undetected.

Critical comments and careless words can stab like a knife and cut deeply. Over time constant criticism will lead to negative thoughts and self defeating beliefs and behaviors. The internal script in the mind and self-talk becomes skewed.

In the same way words can cause painful wounds, that often go undetected, they can also have the opposite effect and give life, and healing. Proverbs 15:4 says, “the soothing tounge is a tree of life, but a perverse tounge crushes the spirit.”

Can you think of anyone in your life who could benefit from words of encouragement and approval? Someone needs to hear you say, “You are enough. I’m so proud of you. You are talented and special. I know you are going to do great things.” These phrases are words spoken from the tongue that give life and healing.

Speak Life

When we speak encouragement and blessings over others we are covering them with God’s favor, His richness, and protection. We are offering up healing for invisible wounds. We are teaching others to view themselves as God sees them, as “God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…” (Colossians 3:12).

God can use your words to change lives!

You have the power with spoken words to help shape someone’s destiny. You can speak words of affirmation to your friends, such as, “You amaze me. You have a bright future. You are unique and gifted.” And God can use the words to heal and give life. The inner voice will become one of Truth.

Are you Willing to Partner with God?

God wants to partner with us and use us to lift up others to help reveal the truth about who God says they are through encouragement. You don’t have to be perfect to change the life of another. God says, in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My Grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made PERFECT in weakness.” He just asks that you are willing.

If you are willing to partner with God, speak words of life over those you come into contact with this week, and God will perform miracles.

Praying the Word:

Lord God, thank You for those You have brought into my life who speak words of encouragement and blessings over me. I pray that You will also use me as Your vessel to speak life over others who need to hear and receive Your powerful truth and healing. Amen