Friday, January 31, 2014

Hospital Corners

She was on everything but the floor.
The word “distraction” is an understatement I’d say with trying to gain any ground on my Inward Journey to Christ this week. 

As I was writing this I heard a big thump.  It was my cat opening the cupboard and pulling out a can of tomato paste.  

For the past hour she has grabbed my lunch, sat on my notebook, walked across the desk and gotten into as much trouble as she can just so I’d notice her.  It wasn’t until I got up and spent some time with her that she finally calmed down.  Her behavior actually got me to thinking about myself and how Christ tries to get me to notice He is always there.
What kind of things does God do to get our attention?  I wonder how many times I have been preoccupied and didn’t notice Him at all.  If I didn’t take the time to recognize God is always present, how in the world could I learn from Him?

After this reading I hope we change our approach in how we act on what we have learned. We will learn to listen, ask questions and “be excellent” as we seek the heart of God.

Welcome new friends this week from: (the USA) West Virginia, Michigan, Massachusetts, Missouri, Florida, France, Germany, UAE, South Africa, Canada and the UK.
Inward Journey circle is growing and I’m so glad to be a part of it with you. Please continue to share this site along with praying for your brothers and sisters of faith following Daily Favor from around the globe.

Don’t miss out on this week’s challenge and the new Q & A tab.
Listening to the Father
OK, this isn't us, but it felt like it.

Learning to do what a parent asks isn’t always easy.  As kids we sometimes got distracted by what was going around us and didn’t really focus on the task we had been assigned.
It was when I was in 6th or 7th grade, I’m not sure, that my father chose to teach us girls (my older sister and me) a lesson.  My Dad’s timing just happened to be when his sister and her family had come for a visit from New York. 

We had finished dinner and part of our daily chores was washing the dishes.  No biggie, we got up from the table and started the duty.
Being a beautiful summer day, all the kids were hoping to go outside for a while after the dishes were done.  Back then we didn’t have a dishwasher … “we” were the dishwasher.

The stack of tableware was finally dwindling and then my father walked into the room.  He reached up, opened the cupboard doors and proceeded to take out every dish (including the ones we just washed) placing them on the counter.  Without raising his voice Dad made this statement: “You will also wash all the dishes in the cupboard and put them back, because I found a dish that was dirty. Do them over.”
You can imagine the fight that we gave, “No, you have to be kidding!  We were going outside … we have company!  You can’t do this… but Dad!”  He didn’t say anything else, but left the kitchen and went back to visit with our guests.

What I didn’t tell you is that our cousin … male teenage cousin, was also visiting.  I was so humiliated by what my Dad did and couldn’t find the right words to say.  Instead of making a big deal out of it, my cousin picked up a towel and began helping us.  He said something to the effect, that with more hands we could get done quicker, and we did.
I’m not sure if that punishment is why I can’t stand to do things over, but it taught me to do things right the first time.  Staying focused has its benefits.

Even though we may be adults, we are still God’s kids, and He expects us to listen (observe) to do the job correctly.  Growing closer to our Heavenly Father on our journey requires a lot of listening in order to get it right the first time.  If we don’t get it right, don’t worry, we’ll get a “do over.”

Hospital Corners

Yesterday was the anniversary of the day my mother met Jesus.  Although mom is now living in a different realm, I still learn from her because of the things she set in motion before she left earth.

When my mother was a young woman she had the desire to be a nurse, and was even a candy striper (of sorts).  I can remember her entering into my bedroom when I was about 13 years old while I was making my bed (it was part of our responsibilities).   
How the conversation about hospital bed sheets began I couldn’t tell you, but in a matter of minutes she was demonstrating how to put hospital corners on my bed.

My bed looked so much nicer and crisp, that even my Dad noticed.  Of course, he then did a Navy bed check.  Oh, you don’t know what that is?  Well, he took out a coin from his pocket and said that if the sheets were done correctly they would be tight enough (no wrinkles at all) that a coin would bounce up in the air when it was flipped on them.  I barely passed the test.
Now my parents didn’t demand I make my bed with hospital corners, but merely satisfied my curiosity.   What my mother did like is that I had a desire to make my bed with excellence, and it all started with a couple questions.

Within a few minutes I learned how to make my bed with hospital corners and have done it ever since.  I spent a few quality minutes listening to my mom and learned something that is still operating in my life today. 

When I asked her why she made her bed this way, or why she did anything for that matter the way she did, her response would be: “No matter what you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  I never forgot that. (1 Corinthians 10:31-33 NKJV)
Having a willing heart and a desire to learn is what I needed in order for Mom’s lesson to take root in my soul.  I was willing and obedient from that time on without any prompting from my mother.  This is what God is looking for from His children. 

No, I don’t think He cares if your bed has hospital corners or not, but I do think He wants us to be eager to learn so that we carry out what has been taught.

You Didn’t Ask
God invites us to ask questions.
The next step in our Inward Journey is for us to ask questions so that we can understand what we are to do in the plan. God’s desire is that we ask questions with the intent to do what He has said. 

Some of my students have come to me concerning asking questions in class. They were embarrassed about the subject so they never said anything.  When they came to me in private I encouraged them by saying that no question is a dumb one, and the only dumb thing was not asking it. 
How could they follow my instructions if they didn’t understand them?  They couldn’t.  Jesus said we don’t have because we don’t ask, so ask. (James 4:2)
The Bible tells us that it’s OK with God that we ask Him stuff.  James 1:5-6 says that if we lack wisdom in something we need to ask God, so that we get the answers we need and don’t become discouraged or waver in our faith.
If you have questions concerning the next step you are to take, talk to the Lord about it in prayer.  While you are waiting for His answer, study the Word of God on that particular subject using a Bible concordance or Bible dictionary.  Talk to a pastor, Christian counselor or Bible teacher about the area that needs addressing.  Be patient and have an open  ear and heart when it comes to listening for instruction.

Action Plan: Doing What is Right
"When are you going to pick that up?"
 Sometimes we get frustrated not knowing what God wants us to do.  Start with what you do know is right, and more will come as you go.  It’s simpler than you think as long as we keep out all the distractions.

Where to begin?  Why not here?
I’m pretty sure somewhere along your journey you had an adult tell you to “pick that up.”  That command is pretty much set for our entire life.  If you see something on the floor, don’t walk past it, pick it up and put it where it belongs. 

When you are in a store and see something on the floor, put it back on the shelf or hanger even though you aren’t the one who knocked it on the floor.  Why do it?  Because it’s right.  In helping someone else, it opens up opportunities for others to help or bless you.
Do it even when no one is looking.
You might not believe this, yet nevertheless, it’s true. Next month (February) is “return a shopping cart month,” but I hope you don’t restrict this action to one part of the year.

Last week I sat in the car while my husband returned the grocery cart to its stall.  I noticed that a man was watching him in the car in front of us as he rolled 5 stray carts into the location.  Someone saw what he did, but more importantly, God saw it.
As Christians we are never to forget that we are always being watched, and it’s not just by unbelievers. People are looking to see if you are true to your faith not only by your words, but by your actions.  They want to see excellence so it gives them a reason to believe.  Something has to be different in our behavior if we are to make a difference.

"Take that off, and that, and that ..."
Let me share another incident that happened to my husband.  While he was standing in line to check out he perceived the woman in front of him didn’t have enough money with her to pay the bill.

The cashier was so kind and asked her what she wanted to do. 
“I have the money in my account, but don’t bank in this town.”  She decided that they would start removing items from the cart until it reached the amount she had in cash.  When my husband noticed what she was doing he finally said out loud, “Stop.  Don’t put anything else back, I’ll make up the difference.”
As he was about to give her the funds, the store manager spotted what my husband was doing, and reached into his own pocket pulling out a large bill and gave it to the checker.

Someone else stepped up when they saw my husband doing the right thing.  He didn’t do it to be recognized, but does this on a regular basis because it is the Godly thing to do.  If we are to be blessed, we are to take action in looking for ways to bless others in order to build an excellent character that God can use.

Serve with Excellence 

One time we have a lady minister come speak at our church. When she was leaving she expressed that she was impressed how everything was done with excellence, and that it wasn’t part of her experience in many other churches where she preached.
Pastor Sandy noticed that we had signs throughout the church building encouraging people, and that one said we were to “Be Excellent (not strive to be) in our service for the Lord.”  Having signs like that in the sanctuary, halls and bathrooms were for the benefit of the congregation and stemmed from lessons our pastor taught. Our church was on its own journey.

Our outreach church was learning to be Disciples of Christ and needed continual reminding.  That meant keeping what we learned before our eyes in church as well as in our homes.  All of us practiced the lessons as the pastor led us according to scripture each week.  No one realized that those signs were having an effect on visitors until that minister said something.
What we were doing in private was made public.  I’m just glad it wasn’t the first week of the teaching. The report would have been quite different.

What, When and Where
Wanting to live a life of excellence before the Lord isn’t something we are to take lightly.  These few things I’ve mentioned may sound silly or too easy, but how many of us do them “religiously”, that is, all the time without guilt, question or resentfulness?

A man recently talked to my husband about serving in the church by volunteering in the parking lot ministry.  He wanted to do more, but there was a discipleship class at the same time. 
The problem was that being a new believer he didn’t actually know how to greet people or direct visitors to the correct places that fit their needs.  Before he could serve with excellence he had to learn and become stronger in Bible knowledge, yes, even in serving in the parking lot.  He realized that and wasn't upset by the pastor's suggestion.
Whatever God asks us to do He has given us the strength to obey to the point that we excel at it physically and spiritually. (Philippians 4:13)

When we press forward in becoming more Christ-like, God has something He can work with and bless.

Our Inward Journey continues this week as we:
First listen to God and those who instruct in the Word “to observe” correctly to the point of action.  Thank God for giving you wisdom to act on what you’ve learned.

“For wisdom is a defense as money is a defense, but the excellence of knowledge is that wisdom gives life to those who have it.” (Ecclesiastes 7:12 NKJV)
Second, if you don’t understand ask questions. God doesn’t want us floundering around not knowing what to do next.  Ask him to shed light on a matter so that you gain understanding on what to do, when to do it and where.

“I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. (to guide you on this life journey - emphasis mine)” (Daniel 5:14 NKJV)
Third, do the right thing as you move toward an excellent Spirit.
“Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.” (Daniel 6:3 NKJV)

This week’s challenge:
I’m not challenging you to put hospital corners on your bed or take every dish out of the cupboard if one happens to be dirty. However, I am asking that in everything you do, no matter how big or small, with a change of heart do it with excellence and all to glorify God.
Something I really need to get under control is my research mail.

So my action toward excellence this week is to get through some piles (yes, I said piles). 

My husband said he is going to work on cleaning out the trunk of his car.  We all have to start somewhere.

As you progress in the things you are trying to improve, let me know what you are doing on my Facebook page or in the comments.  Your suggestions may help someone else, so let’s share things we will work on this week.
Listen, Ask, Be Excellent

Change This Heart - Sidewalk Prophets
Until next time, let excellence work to your favor.

What's New this week: What Are You Afraid Of?
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Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.
Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy. A.N.A. logo by J.C. Penney, Inc.
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by Gateway Bible
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image: Keyboard Kitty  Dishes  Hospital Corners Diagram Shopping Cart  Checker  Excellence  Parking Lot  Journey

Friday, January 24, 2014

"No Fail" Success Plan

"Take the next exit and you'll find success on your right." 
Wouldn't we all love for it to be that easy?
Being successful in life is the desire of every person that has ever lived, yet it doesn’t come to everyone.  Why is that?  Is it possible to be very rich and still be in poverty?  Absolutely. 
I suppose it all boils down to what each of us counts as being successful.  Our opinion of accomplishment and being wealthy shouldn’t be measured or compared to the world's views.  If we are to experience the real value and worth of what it means to be successful, we need to seek the One who puts the value on these things – God.

Feelings of discouragement often set in when we feel we have failed at a task or even at life.  Is there a special formula we are to follow in becoming successful and prosperous?  I believe there is, and God has shown us how to have a “no fail” life along our journey.  Are you interested in knowing what that system is?
Welcome new friends this week from:

India, Philippines, Ukraine, Israel, New Zealand, Holland, Slovenia; Colorado, Kentucky, North Dakota, Alabama, Michigan and Texas USA.

To date believers from 15 countries and 22 states in the USA have joined us for the Inward Journey this year.  Thank you, but I know we can do better!  Please continue to share this site along with praying for your brothers and sisters of faith following Daily Favor from around the globe.

Spiritual Groundwork Must Come First
It’s true that God wants us to be successful in providing for our families, caring for the elderly or sick and being an over-the-top kind of giver, but He also wants us to be spiritually prosperous. 

Being spiritually fit shows God that He can pour out His blessings and favor on us for greater things.
What are we to do in order to prosper and have good success?  For there to be lasting outward success in anything, there must first be inward spiritual growth.  There are many people who we may consider “rich” but without God’s backing, it is only earthly wealth and won’t amount to anything.

There have been more times than I can count, that I have become discouraged with my relationship and walk with the Lord.  I'd think, “What if I read my Bible or pray more … that will make me more “spiritual,” but something would come up and change my schedule so I didn’t follow through with my good intentions.
When I failed at that I would try volunteering and giving to more places outside my church, thinking surely that’s where I messed up.  Then again, those things wouldn’t be consistent and I’d be right back where I was in the beginning – feeling discouraged that I failed God.

The main reason I was feeling that way was because I didn’t understand my part in what God wanted me to do.  A desire to please God was there, but I kept thinking I needed something else, because I didn’t see the results I thought I would in serving the Lord my way.
I didn’t understand that my obedience was such a main issue in my relationship with God, and that it was more important than sacrifice.

By Authority
Any time God gives an assignment, He gives us everything we need to carry it out.  We have His authority, blessings, favor and power. Our part is to recognize the tools we have been given, and use them effectively in finishing the job. (Psalm 68:35 and Luke 10:19)

Moses was a great leader, but his earthly journey had come to an end.  Joshua was given the mantle and responsibility of Moses to finish the job of getting the Israelites into Canaan.  It was a task that Joshua didn’t think he could fulfill. (Reference)
I remember my first full time teaching position. Filling the shoes of the teacher that I replaced seemed impossible and there were many months my days ended in tears.  Halfway through the year things began to change as I stepped up to the challenge.  One thing that I had to keep in mind was that I had the promise of the school administration behind me 100%. 
Knowing that I had authority and backing to do what I was hired for helped me gain ground with my classes and colleagues.  Success came because I didn’t forget what I had been given by the school board (their word), and I have carried this attitude with me everywhere I have taught, preached or lectured.

Joshua needed to be reminded by God of the tools he was given spiritually in order to have material success.  What things could he count on from God in reaching his goal?
Why Not Me?

A command had been set with specific orders from the Lord.  Joshua was told to “Go.”  OK, now he knew what he was supposed to do.  You can imagine there were some questions Joshua had concerning the “when, where, how and why”, so God spelled it out for him right from the start.

The first thing God told Joshua was something we would all like to hear. It was a word of comfort and encouragement before Joshua started the job.
“Like I was with Moses, I will be with you and not forsake you your entire life.” (Joshua 1:5)

Imagine all the miracles Joshua witnessed.  Do you think Moses had a bit of fun at times?
That is a huge promise!  If I were Joshua I’d be making a mental note of the miracles that happened under Moses’ command, like the parting of the Red Sea, Manna from Heaven ... and so forth. Having that kind of power could go to one’s head don’t you think? 
God gave the law to Moses and now the mantle fell on Joshua.  All the places he stepped would be his just like God did with Moses.  How could he possibly get discouraged knowing that all the things God did for Moses He was now passing on to him?

Maybe you think that God isn’t the same as He was in the past, and that He doesn’t bestow the same blessings on the church today.  That’s not true.  If He did it for them, why not me I asked?
Yes, why not? God can do it for you, me or anyone who will follow His plan.  Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
So the first thing in a "no fail success plan," is that it has to have a promise to succeed.  Only God can make such a promise.

The Promised Land Today

Onward Christian Soldier: God Commanded Joshua
When a soldier is given a command by a higher officer, he is expected to carry out the task regardless of the way he feels.  If that soldier has to go to battle, even the encouragement of the boss doesn’t take away the fear of the battle. 

That soldier has to grasp hold of something emotionally to help him follow through with the assignment. 

I'm with you ... now get going!
The second "no fail" ingredient of the plan we read in the scriptures, is that God expected Joshua to be strong and courageous no matter what he came against in delivering the people to their promised land. 
In trying to get the point across to Joshua He said it three times! (Joshua 1:6,7,9)
If Joshua was going to win, he had to develop a winning character and attitude so he wouldn’t fall back into discouragement or quit.  That meant taking a new approach (A.N.A.) in order to change the way he thought and how he saw himself. 
Matthew 28:20
Discourage is the lack of courage.  It’s easy for us to fall into discouragement, especially with the economy right now, but we cannot listen to that voice of despair.  God knew Joshua had to be strengthened from the inside if he were to win an outward battle.  Remember my promises God said.

“Joshua, (said the Lord) don’t be afraid or dismayed.”
That was a direct order straight from headquarters. To be dismayed is to lose focus on what we were doing.  We lose direction and allow discouragement to creep in causing feelings of hopelessness.  Like Joshua, we have been given orders to stay on course. (Joshua 1:9)
There have been times when I was given a task that I really wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do. Have you felt that way?  Since the job description wasn’t clear, I would do other things to fill my time trying to be a good employee.  To an employer, that could look like a person didn’t know their position or didn’t follow instructions well.  When I clearly understood what I was responsible for I had no trouble doing the job.

God wanted to make sure there was no confusion for Joshua in what He wanted him to do in conquering the city.  So He spelled it out for him.
This is what you are to do: go take the land for a possession that is within these borders.  Every place you step will now belong to you. 

There was no doubt of his assignment, and we don’t have to be in doubt either.  If we study God’s Word our task will become clearer.  We will remain strong and courageous to the end.

The Action Plan
Why was staying strong and courageous so important if God promised He wouldn’t leave Joshua? 

Didn’t he already have everything he needed?  After all, God Himself was going to be with him throughout the entire journey.  We learn from scripture that God was only going to do His part. If success was to come, Joshua had to do his own part of the plan.

God has given each one of us a plan of action so we can do what is asked of us.  It is not just reading the Bible or praying either, but both are involved in the overall strategy for success.
If the Bible is to work for us we have to read it with the intent to obey what we read.  "Observe to Do."

Reading it and not doing what it says will not lead you into a prosperous spiritual life.

There was a man who recently talked to my husband about not understanding the Bible translation.  With much discussion he was instructed to get another version to go along with the KJV, so that when he read a passage he could understand in order to do what the scripture said.  There is no point in reading the Bible if we are only reading it to gain historical knowledge.  God’s Word is a manual for life that is meant to be implemented.  It’s a how-to book for life.
I bought a small cabinet this week that came with instructions.  If I want that item assembled I have to get my husband to do it.  OK, I'm kidding.

If "we" want that cabinet to work for us, we have to follow exactly what the manual says or it won't be completed or useful.

God gives us written directions/instructions in His Word so that when we learn it, we will do it (observe is to carry out the assignment) without being told.

For those who do not plan on practicing what they learned from the Word of God, nothing will be revealed to them.  The more we do what God has written the more blessed we will be.  There is no need for revelation to those who don’t follow the plan of action.
Why study God’s Word? So we can do it.  When we follow the plan we don’t lose focus or get discouraged, and keep moving toward the goal.  Joshua had to stay focused to win and so do we.


For years I followed a program called D.E.A.R.  The kids never knew when it would happen, but at any time on any given day I’d call out, “It’s D.E.A.R. time.”  That meant in the middle of an assignment, test or anything, our position was changed.  Everyone, including myself had to drop everything and read (DEAR).  

We were permitted to read anything we wanted, and no one could do anything else (that included me).  What was the plan?  Our goal was to encourage kids to read at home without being told so their literacy skills would increase.  The plan worked because we all followed it.

Most times I would pull out my Bible and meditate on certain passages.  It wouldn’t be long before something happened and I was glad I had those scriptures to draw on in decision making.  Success came because the plan was activated when I did my part.
God gave specific requirements for reading His Word. (The law back then was the books of Genesis-Deuteronomy called the PentateuchThat was the entire Bible.)  Joshua was to meditate on it at least 2 times a day (day and night).

He was told to memorize the passages so that they became the controlling factor in how he went about his day. For example, when you know God says “Do not steal,” you don’t steal. 

It’s that way with anything God says.  You act on what you know.  If you’re not reading God’s Word, you can’t know what is right or wrong according to His plan and you’re bound to mess up purely out of ignorance.  Memorize God’s Word so you know what to do.

Just Do It
Joshua was to believe and do the law without any doubts, questions or changes to it. He had to observe all of it and had no choice as to which he did and didn’t do.

In testing my students. I sometimes gave multiple choice selections, but God doesn’t do that.  Joshua didn’t have a choice of following another plan.  The Israelites new commander was told that he would have success in everything if he followed God’s plan only (no wavering from the guidebook).
In today’s world, some Christians want to compromise on what God has clearly stated in His Word concerning right or wrong.  We want to be politically or culturally correct and forgo being spiritually one with God.

“No Fail” plan has to be followed according to the rules of its Creator.  If we want the benefits of being successful, we have to go by the plan that leads us to that destination.
When God says here is my plan of action, He isn’t asking for our input nor is He giving us a plan B.  This is what the plan is, the only plan. 

Scripture says, “Thou shall not,” but we say, “Just this once, maybe next time … that doesn’t apply to me.”  God says, “Do not judge others or you’ll be judged.”  We judge others and think we can escape judgment.

How clear did God make those instructions?  Yet we change the rules, and take our own action plan expecting God to bless us with His favor.
Winning is God’s plan for our lives. He has given a plan of action that will succeed if we remember these three things:

1. Only one plan comes with a promise to succeed. God's plan.

2. We must be strong and courageous on the journey.
3. Memorize the “plan book” (Bible) to obey and do the plan.

We’re in this Together
A written plan of action just like God's Word.
Each week I was expected to present a lesson plan to my advisors so they knew what my course of action was going to be for the students.  The students, administration and I had our parts, and together goals were achieved.

God’s lesson plan book always gives the direction concerning any course of action. He expects us to go by it so everyone on His side wins.  I want to succeed on my journey, don't you? 
It is satan’s plan to de-activate God’s success plan for our lives; and he is behind discouragement and failure, not God.  Joshua never failed because he followed a plan to success. 

Plan to succeed - READ God's Word 2 x's a day.
I have a saying on my kitchen wall:
 “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” 
God planned for us not to fail, so let’s get with the plan starting now. 
Memorize scripture to observe (go into action).  Press on and forward.

Don’t be afraid. Be strong and courageous…. We’re not alone!

 Share the Message ...
  Be Strong and of a Good Courage!

Until next time, remember God’s favor is with you.

What's New this week: for the Soul:

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Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.

Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy.  A.N.A. Logo J.C. Penney, Co.
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by Gateway Bible
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
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