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Unblock Your Blessings!

Have you ever considered that you might have things present in your life that are blocking your blessings? I'd bet that you might.

Here's an analogy. What if you plowed a field, sowed seeds into fertile ground, watered them and then covered the ground with plywood or even concrete? Those seeds might have a hard time coming to life and bearing fruit! Wouldn't you agree?

I'm going to share some thoughts about blessing blockers over the next few weeks as I'm guided because this is something that I came to understand in my own life. Sometimes you're doing or have done many of the right things, but things still haven't opened up the way you wanted or expected. Why?

Maybe your blessings are being blocked?! The good news is there is a way to identify and remove these obstacles and that's what we want to do together. For example, the first thing you must do is take care of all the seeds you've already sown. Make sure they're being nurtured and cared for. A lot of times we neglect the investments (career, relationships, business, ministry) that we've already made and then wonder why they don't produce the way they could or used to.

What are some things that you've found that block blessings from flowing in your life?


"Seven Things I Learned from Rap Music"

Since the days of Kurtis Blow, I have loved rap music.  I'll grant you that some of it's becoming hard to justify, but there are some lessons that I've learned from it over the years that have helped me in life. Here are some of my favorites:

"You don't grind, you don't shine." - Mike Jones

If this current economy has reminded us of anything, it's that most of us should no longer expect financial prosperity to come without sacrifice. Solomon said that there is profit in all hard work and the converse is true: if you don't grind, you don't shine. Put your top effort into creating the future you desire.

"If I can't change the people around me, I change the people around me." - Chuck D

The Bible says that we should not be deceived; that bad company corrupts good morals. Throughout the Proverbs, there are warnings to choose our friends and associations very carefully. A lot of who we become results from those with whom we spend the majority of our time. Surround yourself with people who are pursuing purpose.

"Before we go any further, let's be friends." - Whodini

Relationship advice from the great Rappin' Jalil (or was it Ecstacy? or Grandmaster Dee?). A lot of times we push relationships too far, too fast because of infatuation and hormones. I advise my sisters all the time to resist the urge to let relationships become "sexualized" too soon because once a guy has sex on his mind, he can't think. Let's not just get to know one another. Let's be friends.

"You see me? I eat, sleep, _____ and talk rap. You see that '98 Mercedes on TV? I bought that." - Juvenile

One thing that I've always admired in successful people is their focus. Solomon spoke of this, too, when he advised that we should do with all our might whatever it is that we do. This is in Ecclesiastes 9:10 in case you're wondering.

"It's what you keep, not what you cop." ~Beanie Sigel

Making money doesn't profit much if you spend it all. We Americans have developed the nasty habit of spending even MORE than we earn.  W. Clement Stone said, "If you cannot save money, the seeds of greatness are not in you."  Wise words.  Very. 

"Don't let a win go to your head or a loss to your heart." - Chuck D

Fight to stay encouraged when things are tough by taking control of your emotions. Don't take it personally. Things happen to all of us in this life. Also, use the positive emotions of victories to propel yourself forward without becoming complacent. Good seasons don't last always the same way Winter doesn't last forever.

"It takes two to make a thing go ri-ight! It takes two to make it out of sight!" ~Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock (See also Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 because Solomon said it, too: "Two are better than one...")


What Do You Expect?

I've had a small epiphany. I'm sure you've already had this one and this post is just a reminder for you. You generally perform at about the level you expect out of yourself.  I've been a lot more productive in this past week and I've only made one change.  I've expected to be.

So much of how we perform is based only on one thing - our expectations for our performance.  Do you recall the Roger Bannister 4-Minute Mile thing?  Nobody thought it could be done.  Once Bannister broke the barrier there was a shift in expectations.  Now, if you can't run a mile in four minutes, you're not even taken seriously as a runner.  In the same way, many of your current limits are totally arbitrary.  No reason you can't raise them!  
Time for me to get back to work.  It's been a productive day, but I can do better.  In fact, I will do better!  I'm expecting a lot more from myself and it feels good!  Subscribe to this blog.  Let's see what's ahead together!


You're Made of Good Stuff!

A lot of people think there is something fundamentally different between the high achievers and themselves. That's not the case at all! You can do anything anyone else can do if you know what they know and practice is consistently. That means this: anything you've been called to do, created to do or want to do YOU CAN DO! You just have to learn how and then practice what you have learned.

A lot of what you need to do, you ALREADY KNOW but you aren't doing it consistently. Now, I've been working on a new series basically covering how to get out of your own way, but you've got to catch this first. There is nothing fundamentally LESSER about you at all. Donald Trump gets funky breath in the morning, too. We all get 24 hours and (if you're reading this) a sound mind. It's what we think about and what we do that makes the difference.

The first message I want you to catch is that YOU CAN DO, BE and HAVE anything you're called, created or want to have. You just need to learn something you don't currently know and then practice it consistently. If you aren't where you want to be, hang in there. The race isn't given to the swift nor is the battle given to the strong! If you aren't making the impact you want to make and earning the money you want to earn, it's only because there's something you don't know! That's good news because it means you can LEARN whatever you need to learn to take your entire life to a new level. Stay encouraged and keep asking, seeking and knocking!

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The God of Provision.

"Abraham called the name of that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the Lord it will be provided.”" ~Genesis 22:14 (NASB)

...which is an interesting passage and very well known and a good illustration of where it's good to dig into the language a little bit. Thinking the word "provide" or about provision limits our understanding. Abraham really said "The LORD will see to it." or (more colloquially) "The LORD will take care of it."

The Latin helps us, too, when we go into why certain words were chosen as the Bible was being translated. Why use the word "provide" instead of another word like "give" or something else? Because provide comes from "pro" (before or beforehand) + "videre" (to see). The LORD sees ahead of time.

The ram was in the bush before Abraham set out in the morning! We don't know when he got his horns caught in the thicket or why. Was the ram running from a coyote? Had the coyote been chased away from another encampment by a local shepherd? Did that shepherd catch the coyote because his breakfast had been burnt and so he got frustrated and went out to pasture early? The answers are both "Yes!" and "who knows but God?" because we see that He saw ahead and saw to it.

We talk about giving blessings. We've got songs celebrating Jehovah Jireh. That's good. The Lord certainly blesses. It goes well beyond giving to you to include arranging all the things that concern you! Even your deliverance!  That challenge you're facing right now? He already saw it. Concerned about how it's going to turn out? Don't be. Relax. He will see to it. In fact, He already has.

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What You Should REALLY Do.

Isn't that how we treat people these days?  You should do this or that and if you don't then "go kill yourself!"  I HATE that phrase, but I see it tossed around a lot.  When did we become so harsh and judgmental?

Lots of "shoulds" make for GREAT social media conversations, but horrible relationships. And nobody likes a nag. You post "people should so and so" or people should never "blah blah blah" and it works because it divides the room (so to speak) philosophically and sparks conversation. Inevitably there will be one or two people on each side of the room who feel passionately enough to fill up your page with comments and entertainment.

However, in real life, every time you use the word "should" you're judging and every judgment alienates. I'm not saying there aren't times to alienate people. I'm just saying count the cost. Measure most of your rules against whether they work for you. Every successful person and every successful relationship contains at least a few elements that other people say they should or should not have.

You should "do you" more often.

 Oh yeah. Here's a friendly "iron sharpening" tip. Most people are already dealing with a number of insecurities and ways in which they feel like a failure anyway. They rarely need to be told yet another way in which they're failing to measure up! Trying cheering someone on for a change!

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