Thursday, October 27, 2011

Do you have a Maintenance Plan?

2 Thessalonians 3:4 (The Message Bible)
Because of the Master, we have great confidence in you. We know you're doing
everything we told you and will continue doing it. May the Master take you by the hand
and lead you along the path of God's love and Christ's endurance.

There are very few, if any, people or things that we deal with on a daily basis that do not require maintenance.  Our physical bodies, our relationships, our automobiles all require some form of maintenance. Many things require what we term as “preventive maintenance.”  Let me take a moment to define these terms.

 Maintenance:  to keep in existence or continuance; to preserve; to retain: to maintain good relations with (relationships).

Preventive Maintenance: The care and servicing for the purpose of maintaining in satisfactory operating condition by providing for systematic inspection, detection, and correction of incipient failures either before they occur or before they develop into major defects.

While we often plan how to begin something, or how to obtain something, we neglect to consider the need or the means by which it is maintained.  After all, the Blessing is not just in getting it, but it is in keep or sustaining it – with the help of the Lord.  I remember well my son’s excitement at the thought of owning his first automobile.  I’m sure many of you can relate. He thought about all the places he could go, and the things he could do (without mom or dad tagging along), he thought about the dates he could go on, and the parties he would no longer have to miss.  Eventually, we were able to get him to come to some understanding about his responsibility as it related to down payments, and monthly payments,  – but the hardest lesson of all, had to do with the ongoing maintenance of the vehicle. You know, the insurance, the oil changes, the belt changes, the balancing of the tires, etc… those things that had to be done on an ongoing basis for the life-span of the vehicle.

You see, maintenance is important as it relates to the quality of existence as well as the life-span of most things.  Yes, death can and does occur, when things are not maintained.  It is the consistent performance of a good maintenance plan that allows something to reach its life expectancy, and in the same light; that allows us to endure and to bring something to completion.  In short, the same thing it took, to get it started, it will take to keep it.  

Consider the following: most people see a rapid growth in their relationship with Christ when they first accept Him into their lives.  However, as time goes on, years go by – some find their growth rate slows down drastically, that is often because they are not doing the same things, spending the same time with Him, that they did in the beginning.  I could make the same comparisons with our marriage relationships or in our careers.  Due to lack of maintenance, some things have just broken down.  However, as I often say, failure does not have to mean the end.   I’d like to ask each of you this week, to reflect on your relationships, your goals, and most importantly your relationship with Jesus Christ.  Ask yourselves, where have I lacked in the area of maintenance?  As I do the same, let’s stand in agreement that He will restore and bring new life and a plan for maintenance where we have lacked one. 

Write those areas down that you need to focus on.  Next, consider a few practical things you can do immediately, to get back, or perhaps develop a maintenance plan where there was none.  Here are a few places to start:

To maintain a healthy relationship with God
1.       Communicate Daily with Him in Prayer.
2.       Practice Worship – The Book of Psalms is a great place in the word of God to learn of Worship, and reading many of these scriptures out loud can usher you in to a place of worship.
3.       Read the Word of God.
4.       Practice Thankfulness.
5.       Trust God, and learn to depend on Him.  He is faithful 

To maintain a healthy relationship with others:
1.      Practice Forgiveness.
2.      Be Honest.
3.      Communicate Openly.
4.      Provide Support.
5.      Show appreciation.

To maintain your focus on a goal:
1.      Write your goal(s) down.
2.       Keep your written goals in sight, use sticky notes or posters.  These serve as reminders.
3.      Engage an accountability partner to help keep you on track.
4.      Don’t spread yourself to thin.  Concentrate on 1-3 goals.
5.      Set milestones and track your results.

Copyright 2011 Victoria L. Burse
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Are we talking to much!!!

14The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.
  Exodus 14:14 (The King James Version)
The Lord ministered so much to me this week through this word. I pray that the Lord work in your life this week, as He did mine.
Men and Women of God, I am finding more and more each day the greater value of “staying quiet.”
Being quick to speak, we often do so before God has revealed the entirety of a situation to us, and His will and purpose for it.  As the whole story is uncovered, it can change what we once thought to be a great situation or a God opportunity, into something that was from the very start a trick of the enemy – one that we could not see.  I'm reminded of a test taking skill I was taught back in high school as it relates to multiple-choice questions.  Once asked a question, the next step was to evaluate 3 or 4 different answers; those answers are often multi-part statements and you must choose the one that is correct.  I was taught, when reading the answer statement if even one part of the statement was incorrect, then the entire statement was incorrect.  Now, how often did we choose the wrong answer, because we read only the first part of the statement…usually up to the comma?
I believe this is a great practice to apply to our lives, as situations we encounter on a daily basis can challenge us to prematurely act/re-act on what may turn out to be only part – of the story.  In our impatience, frustration, confusion, and arrogance, we take things in into our own hands feeling that we know enough and have strength enough even of ourselves to handle it when the truth of the matter is, God knows we cannot, and it is not even His design that we “handle it.”    Here is a good question, can we be patient and wait on God, even when we know we are right?  “What am I waiting for then,” you might ask?  You are waiting for the right time.  You see the right thing, at the wrong time, is still the wrong thing!  There goes that multipart answer again!
Is there such a situation going on in your life today?  There is a greater plan, a greater work at hand.  Greater, than we can fathom.  It may not seem possible, but God can and will use this experience of walking through this season with our mouths Shut…to OPEN up the windows of Heaven over our Destiny.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Growing Pains!

There was a time when I thought that the phrase “Growing Pains” was more of a figurative statement – than a literal one.  I did not realize that as children grow, especially between the ages of 3 and 7, there are definite points at which they began to experience pain in their lower extremities.  Growing pains are triggered when bones grow; stretching the bone's thick covering.  Growing Pains generally concentrate in the muscles, rather than the joints and most chldren report these pains in the front of their thighs, in the calves, or behind the knees. 

Where am I going with this?  Well in the Spirit, I hear God speaking the words “Growing Pains,” and I believe this relates to a sort of re-aligning and stabilizing process that we must all go through on our destiny journey.  As God launches us and we step out on the things He has ordained for us, those things within us that we still need to work on are exposed, and our acknowledgement of them often causes some pain.  But fear not, these are only Growing Pains.  You see He loves us so much that He takes the time to carefully identify those things that may be small issues at this point, but could escalate into greater problems and “open doors” for the enemy, as we continue on our journey.

Pain in and of itself in the body is a signal that something is not quite as it should be.  Often, we will overlook a pain.  For example, we may have a pain in our left foot.  In our haste to keep moving, rather than address the pain, we ignore it by placing additional weight on our right foot. The pain in the left foot does not go away, and we soon find we have additional pain in the right foot and leg muscles because of the excessive pressure we have placed upon them.  Sound familiar? 

In our excitement about the journey and where it is taking us at this point, we must be careful not to overlook what God is showing us, in us, that we need to attend to.  We must take the time even as we are on our way, to address these areas and ensure they are strengthened.  We need to be fortified for the journey, because we understand that we have an enemy that has arrows intended to injure and if possible, take us out – along the way.

God is here as an ever present help to us.  Whether you are experiencing the pains of being out of balance, of health related issues, financial management… (wow, those are three really big ones) never fear.  We serve a God who is more than able, one who is not a stranger to pain or testing.  One who welcomes us to come boldly to the throne of grace to get exactly what we need so that we might be strengthened for our journey and perform great exploits for the Kingdom of God.

Remember, do not fear, just take heed and oh, one more thing about “Growing Pains” in children; they typically feel the pains at night, and then they disappear in the morning.  Now that’s familiar…

Psalm 30:5
   5For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

© Copyright 2011 Victoria L. Burse