Monday, September 27, 2010

"The Most Excellent Way"

In the midst of our moving recently, we attempted to teach our boys the concept of doing things “with excellence.” We gave them lists of things to do to help prepare for the move such as: packing various items, vacuuming rugs, washing walls, emptying trash etc… We noticed that after we checked over their list that things seemed to be consistently done half-way. They did what we asked to some degree, but not well. The trash cans were emptied, but the baskets were lying down half-toppled over on the floor of each room. The rug was vacuumed just enough to get “some” of the dirt off and then rolled up dirt and all. They did the jobs to say they were done, marked it off their list, and then headed for the TV. God gave me a few scriptures to help enlighten them on their work ethic that I want to share with you today.

“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.”
Colossians 3:17

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.”
Colossians 3:23

God doesn’t want us to face this life doing everything half-way or to work half-heartedly to say we did it. He wants us to do things to the best of our ability “with excellence.” We are representing Him with all we say and do. We are doing it FOR HIM! Whether we are flipping burgers at McDonalds, changing dirty diapers, or leading Boy Scouts, we are doing it for God and as a representative of Him to this world. We need to do things “with excellence.”

What does doing things with excellence look like? Excellence can be defined as going above and beyond doing something. When we were Youth Pastors years ago, we drilled into our teens that we need to do things “with excellence.” When we went on a trip, we would emphasize the fact that we need to leave this place the same or better than how we received it. We were being a witness or a reflection of God to others by our actions. We wanted to be a good one! They didn’t like cleaning up their trash, straightening up rooms, or staying late, but we were bent on being consistent in this area. Eventually they caught on and began doing it all on their own without being prompted with the right heart.

If we say we love God and live for Him, then we need to show it by our actions. If we really are doing things FOR GOD as the scripture says, then we need to do them WELL to the best of our ability. What does doing things with excellence look like? It’s staying to help clean up after a church service and being the last one to leave, it’s filling the gas tank up to full after borrowing a friend’s car when you received it almost empty, it’s paying above average to your waitress at a restaurant, it’s going above and beyond what is expected of you to bless someone else. What does doing things “with excellence” look like? It looks like YOU doing your best for God in whatever you do! If you were to give yourself a grade on doing things “with excellence,” what grade would you get?

Why should we do things with excellence? Who cares? God cares. We are representing God to the world by what we do and how we do it. We are a reflection of Him. Reflect Him well. The best way to do things is the excellent way. I challenge you today to choose to go above and beyond in everything you do and remember you are doing it FOR GOD. Very few people strive to do their BEST at anything. As you begin to do things “with excellence,” you will stand out among the rest and God will bless you as a result. I pray the “most excellent way” will become a lifestyle for you as you continue to serve Him.

Living to leave a legacy!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Who am I REALLY???

In case you missed it, we recently moved to Lebanon, Indiana. We moved over the last couple weeks and I have been recovering ever since. Moving wears you out and the boxes never seem to disappear quick enough. We moved for several reasons… it’s closer to Indy, it’s closer to our church we attend, and I got a job as a Home Health Aide in Lebanon. All good reasons to move closer…. I may be moved in, but won’t be completely settled for awhile. I am a perfectionist and for some reason need to have everything in it’s place to be completely comfortable.

In the midst of our moving adventure, I had an interesting event happen to me. I ordered one of my prescriptions as usual from the local pharmacy, but things did not go as expected. When my husband went to pick it up, it wasn’t there. Someone else picked it up before him. I probably should say that in Crawfordsville, Indiana there were THREE Julie Davis’ before I moved. One is a teacher, one is a photographer and then there is me. It caused lots of problems. I had problems when reserving books at the library, people called me looking for their photographer, and I got mail about Teacher’s Retirement plans all the time. I assumed this was one of those instances. After talking with the manager of the pharmacy, she assured me this was not the case. She said they were going to be scanning the video footage to ID the person and possibly calling the police station for further action.

For one afternoon I felt somewhat panicked at the fact that someone knew my personal information enough to get my prescriptions. What more could they get in “my name”? Had my identity been stolen? Who do you contact when identity theft has occurred? A lawyer… the police… I never had to think about it before. I worked myself into a frenzy and headed to the pharmacy to discuss my fears with the manager. As I arrived and shared my concerns she calmed them immediately when she said they got it all figured out. The person who took my prescription brought it back right before I arrived. I guess one of the husbands of a “Julie Davis” in town came in to get a prescription for his wife and thought my birth date was hers. It was a case of “mistaken identity”… all was under control and my identity was SAFE! Have you ever had a similar scare with identity theft? It’s no fun! Our identity is WHO WE ARE and nobody can steal that away from us.

Identity can be defined as this… The characteristics that a person is defined, recognized, or known by. These are the qualities that constitute his or her individual personality for life. We wear many hats that define us and add to our identity. I am a daughter, wife, mother, sister, grand daughter, niece, house keeper, cook, teacher, referee, chauffeur, counselor, friend, and CHILD OF GOD. Whatever we do or don’t do and whatever title we carry seem to determine our view of ourselves… and our identity. For instance many stay at home moms feel their jobs are insignificant. Their days consist of dirty diapers, messy hair, puked on clothes, and crying babies, but they are shaping tomorrows leaders day by day.

We can’t define ourselves by what we DO, but instead by WHO WE ARE. When everything is stripped away and all of the titles and hats are thrown aside, what is left… the REAL YOU! What happens when we lose our job, relationships fall apart or things change? Our identity can not be based on the titles we have because they aren’t what is permanent. I have found for myself that true identity can only be found in Christ. He does not view us by our title, but instead by our testimony. Think about it… What has God done for you and in you? He sees beyond our title to our hearts. God sees us differently than we see ourselves. That is one reason why we need to seek to find our identity in Him. He has a different perspective… take a look!

~I am a child of God (Romans 8:14-15)
~God made me on purpose (Psalm 139)
~God has a plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11)
~I am God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10)
~God will give me the strength to do all I need to do today (Philippians 4:13)
~I am a reflection of Jesus to the world (Colossians 3:4)
~I can conquer anything with God’s help (Romans 8:37)
~I am a new creation in God (2 Corinthians 5:17)
~God completes me (Colossians 2:9-10)
~God forgives and forgets all of my mistakes (Jeremiah 31:34)

The list could go on of how God views us and how we can find our identity in Him. If you have been seeking to fill the empty spots of your life by career, relationships, successes, or gaining money and titles, I pray today you will re-evaluate your life. When all the titles and hats your wear are stripped away, what will you be left with? I hope it will be Jesus. He is the only thing that lasts forever. If you don’t know Him, I challenge you to invite Him into your life. He can make a masterpiece out of anything we give Him. He is very creative! May you be challenged today to discover who you really are beneath the surface of your life.

Living to leave a legacy,

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My Life is in Boxes

We have entered a new season, started a new chapter and... I AM EXCITED!!! Our life is in boxes because we have moved. All this to say I will be posting as I am able soon. Let the new journey begin...

Monday, September 6, 2010

Can I have a DO OVER?

Have you ever wished you could go back and do something over again? I wish at times there was a big remote control for life. Some things I would rewind and do again, the good times I would pause to enjoy longer, and the difficult times I would fast forward through. As I was pondering this thought, I thought of some things I would do differently if I had the chance to go back to school and have a DO OVER. May you be challenged as you read on to redeem the present and strive to make a difference today no matter what your life has looked like in the past.

If I could go back to school I would…
We all have an empty spot inside of us. Friends, fitting into the right social group, boyfriends & girlfriends, getting good grades, having the right clothes and enough money can not fill that “empty spot”.

God alone is the only one that can fill the empty spots of our hearts and give us purpose. He made us on purpose with a purpose.

If I could go back to school I would…

I wouldn’t allow others opinions of me or what I do to sway my decision daily to live for God.

I would choose to focus more on growing in God. I would keep God first in my life and not let anything distract me (not even good or little insignificant things). I would be at church every time the doors were open and go on every missions trip I could.

If I could go back to school I would…

I would have a spirit of excellence! I would try harder at everything… home work, tests, at my job etc… I would realize that I was reflecting God in everything I did and I would want to reflect Him well.

If I could go back to school I would…

I would have public and private integrity. I would live for God 24/7 realizing someone was always watching me. I would keep my word and follow through on what I said I would do. I would be who I say I am all the time. I would not be afraid to speak the truth with boldness in class speeches, with friends in conversation, with teachers, or those opposed to God.

If I could go back to school I would…

I would step out of my comfort zone and meet others I don’t know. I would sit with different people at lunch and in my classes. I would talk to people in different social classes, races, and grades. I wouldn’t prejudge people based on which social group they were a part of or how much money it seemed they had. I would accept and love everyone for who they were and I would cross traditional boundaries to go out of my way to build friendships.

If I could go back to school I would…

I would see each day as a special assignment to love someone for God. I would look for divine appointments. I would try to see my world through God’s eyes. I would look for opportunities to help meet the needs of others. I wouldn’t be so caught up in my own world that I missed the hurting people all around me. I would look for ways to love and serve others on a daily basis. I would choose to be selfless instead of selfish to reflect God well to the world.

If I could go back to school I would…

I would see my 40 hour a week job as a missionary to my campus. I would be a messenger to my school of the love of God by living it, showing it, and sharing it with others. I would do my best to reach my campus for God by any means before I graduated.

These are some of the things I wish I could do differently. I can’t go back again now, but I can be who God wants me to be today and so can you. God is real and wants to be real in your life. Begin to really know God and make Him known to others and you will change your world one person at a time! It’s never too late to change your future! Let today be your DO OVER!

Living to leave a legacy!