Acorns in the Fire

One winter afternoon, I was ridding my backyard of an overwhelming number of dead leaves that had fallen from far too many trees, when I noticed a number of acorns that I was raking into the fire.

A strange thought came to my mind: Those poor acorns will never realize their potential and become a mighty oak. They won’t even become a tiny oak sapling. They are being burned. They will never feel the breeze blowing through their branches, they will never feel wind causing them to sway gently.

So what, you ask? Acorns don’t have feelings. I know. It wasn’t really the acorns that I had in mind.

Years ago, I had the privilege of receiving some life changing teaching from a genuine servant of God named Dr. Keith Drury. I remember many things he taught us young men about ministry, about life and about how to succeed, but the one thing that was on my mind as I raked the acorns into the fire along with the dead leaves was this: we, like acorns, have far greater potential than it looks like we have. Who could imagine, if he were not told, that this tiny acorn could become a mighty oak tree like the one next to my house that has a trunk diameter of five or six feet. Not too many years back, that powerful oak that towers over one hundred feet into the air now was just a tiny acorn!

Keith challenged us to keep an acorn on our dresser or somewhere else so we would see it often to remind us that we too had great often hidden potential.

Sweeping those acorns into the fire, I thought of all the people in our world today who are burning acorns by not believing in something better, by not believing that life can improve, by not believing that they can make a unique contribution to the lives of those around them. They are acorns swept into the fire. Gone. Never to become what they were meant to be, never to be that mighty oak.

Are you sweeping the acorn that is you into the fire? You are an amazing creation of God, and you were created to be a powerful oak. I don’t know what that means to you. I just know that if you don’t believe and if you persist in raking your acorn into the fire, you will never realize the fullest happiness that you could have, and others around you will not be helped. Fulfillment comes in being what you were created to be, whatever that is. Why not ask God to help you pull your acorn out of the fire and begin believing? The acorns I burned will never be anything but burned acorns. You are different. You can pull your acorn out of the fire. Believe in the plans God has for you. You were and are special to God – He wants a genuine relationship with you. Believe in the uniqueness of your personhood in Christ. Believe in your purpose to bless and help others. You were meant to become a mighty oak tree, rooted in a real relationship with a real God, reaching for the sky as you grow to become the oak you were intended to be!

Ephesians Day 2 The Simple Life

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 NIV

Do you ever feel like NOT praising God? After all, it requires a certain mindset to genuinely practice praise, right? Those simple words, “Praise the Lord”, have several emotions and truths wrapped up in them. To praise indicates acceptance. To praise indicates a belief in the positive nature of the thing we give praise for regardless of how it looks at the present. To praise indicates gratitude. To praise for something which on the surface appears negative indicates trust. Who knew that all of these emotions would be wrapped up in a simple praise?

When I don’t feel like praising I face an important decision: do I trust the God who controls all things? Do I really believe that He is sovereign – in control of all things? Or do I trust my unreliable emotions that tell me this situation, this circumstance is hopeless or bad? The blessings Paul praises God for are invisible. They are in the unseen heavenly realms. We don’t see them. Paul doesn’t see them. Yet He praises God for them anyway. For Paul, these unseen blessings were very real. More real than the beatings, imprisonments and persecutions that he endured. How could he do that? Simple answer – Faith! To properly praise, we must have faith. Faith sees the unseen heavenly realms and it sees every spiritual blessing in Christ. Faith takes hold of those many blessings and brings them into our daily life.

How do I do that? Let’s go back to the words of Ephesians 1:3. “Praise be to … God”.

I love the Nike slogan when it comes to spiritual disciplines like praise – Just Do It! Whether you feel the acceptance, the gratitude, the positive nature of what you are experiencing or not – praise anyway. The powerful thing about God’s Word is that whether we feel it or not, when we obey, He goes to work!

Response

Make a choice today to praise whether you feel like it or not. As Oswald Chambers says, when you choose to obey, God will move heaven and earth to help you in that obedience!

Scripture

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Ephesians 1:3 NIV

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Ephesians – “Finding God’s Will” Day 1 The Simple Life

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus:  Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:1‭-‬2 NIV

What is God’s will for you? As we begin this growth journey through one of the richest books of the New Testament, I hope you ask this question. Do you have the idea that God’s will is a mysterious thing? An unknowable thing? An important thing? A life changing thing?

I believe it is quite simple. Too many times, I feel that God’s will is going to involve doing something big or great. It is some achievement out there that will accomplish something wonderful or significant for God’s kingdom. Why is it that I think “the will of God” must be a big thing, an important thing or a life changing thing? Simple answer – pride! Of course it must be important or life changing. It involves me. Wait! Who do I think I am? Good question. My pride blinds me to my unremarkableness, my absolute normal-ness, especially my faults, my shortcomings, my imperfections. Pride is my biggest hindrance to knowing and living God’s will for me today.

Think back to Adam and Eve. They were perfect. Flawless, sinless, physically perfect, and they walked with the God of the universe daily! It’s why He created them! What a day that must have been! That was clearly God’s will for them. Yet as they stood next to that forbidden tree, they were blinded by pride to think they could be or should be something more – “you shall be like God“. Reaching for what they were never intended to be, they grasped the emptiness of the deceitful promise, the forbidden fruit and dragged all of us into the blindness of sin and pride.

I often have to remind myself that I am a little man and I know nothing. Do I really believe that? Pride, blind pride thinks I am wrong but in my heart of hearts, I know I am right. Yet, He chooses to walk with me today and fellowship with me today.

Reflection:

How am I refusing to accept God’s will to simply walk with Him by reaching for the deceitful promise of something I was never intended to be? How can I accept His love of me and fellowship more with Him today?

Prayer for Today:

Lord, help me today to discover Your will to simply walk with You as I was originally intended to walk.

Background Scripture

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis‬ ‭3:1-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

How Can I Have Joy When Everything Is Going Wrong?

Sorry. This is kind of long, but worth the read. 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NIV

      Do you ever find that joy is hard to come by? If so, read on as I share something God gave me this morning.

      How can I have joy always? Isn’t that an avoidance of reality? 

     Joyfulness in all circumstances is first, a choice. A choice based on the command of the One who knows all, who sees all, and who knows the future. That means it is not an unreasonable command, nor does obedience to such a command mean one is unwilling to face reality. It is, then, the most reality based response to any and all circumstances.

     Next it involves a receiving of something promised. God would not and does not command something – anything – without providing strength to accomplish what he has commanded. The promise of joy in all circumstances is implied when it is commanded. Often we do not sense the promised joy of the Lord deep within us because we are too focused on other things. Think of a spring bubbling up from deep underground, but the place where it bubbles to the surface is covered with dirt, debris and even trash. If I clean up the place where it bubbles to the surface, the bubbling water is cleaner. Too often I allow the dirt and debris of life to clutter and cloud the pure joy of the Lord that bubbles up from within me. Today, I will clear the clutter and thus clean up the flow of joy.

     Experiencing joy is also linked to a practice of gentleness. Immediately after commanding us to rejoice in the Lord always, Paul says we are to allow our gentleness to be evident to all. What is the connection of gentleness to joy? Is gentleness a precursor to or a result of joy? Let’s think. If I am not gentle, how does that affect my other emotions? Any emotion which does not include gentleness such as harshness or anger will obstruct the realization of or sense of joy much like the previously mentioned debris and clutter. Emotions that do not include gentleness either block the flow of joy, or so intermix it that it becomes unrecognizable. Gentleness then helps maintain a clear area in my inner being so that I can receive and recognize joy. 

     The next step is to remove the debris of worry and anxiety.Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6 NIV

Besides anger and harshness, few emotions cloud our sense of joy more than anxiety. I have learned a simple but powerful truth about anxiety and God’s provision of joy. This time we are commanded not to be anxious ABOUT ANYTHING. Surely, there are some things about which we should be anxious, right? Wrong. Do not be anxious about anything. If He commands me not to be anxious, then He must provide grace and strength to me not to be anxious. Here is the secret I have learned. I have memorized this verse and the one that follows. Whenever I feel a sense of anxiety or dread about any given situation, I quote these verses repeatedly and the anxiety or dread disintegrates. Why? There is power in God’s Word. That power is released when I affirm the truth of the Word by quoting it. The enemy of our souls desires at all costs to keep us from a daily experience of this joy, and works consistently to keep us focused on negative emotions like anger, harshness or worry. When I quote God’s Word, I release God’s power to accomplish what that Word promises. Here, I am promised that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NIV.

     Peace and joy are companion emotions. Quoting these verses becomes what the gospel song refers to when it says, “standing on the promises I cannot fall, listening every moment to the Spirit’s call, resting in my Savior as my all in all, standing on the promises of God.” As I quote the Word, a powerful thing occurs. The very power of God Himself is released into me, and I am enabled to experience His peace, His gentleness and His joy. It should also be noted that this quoting of the Word must of necessity, be intermixed with faith since “without faith it is impossible to please Him…” Hebrews 11:6 

     How is your joy today? If things are really tough or difficult and you aren’t experiencing joy, choose gentleness, remove the debris of anxiety and worry by quoting these verses intermixed with a heavy dose of faith and allow the free flow of the power of a God bringing joy to flood into your heart and life!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 NIV

WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE THE END, LOOK FOR A BEGINNING

WHEN IT LOOKS LIKE THE END, LOOK FOR A BEGINNING
A SHORT VISIT WITH TWO SKELETONS

Two skeletons were walking down the street. One asked the other, “Who won the skeleton beauty contest last night ?”
“Nobody. Hey, are you hungry?”
“Yes. But I can’t stomach cafeteria food. I would love to order some spare ribs” When their food arrived, the second skeleton said, “Bone appetit!”
After they finished eating, the first skeleton asked, “Would you like to go for a ride on my Harley?”
“Of course, I’m bone to be wild!”
As they started off down the road, the second one said, “You know, It is kind of cold today. That wind is going right through me.”
“I have a question for you. How come you never get upset?”
“ Not sure. Maybe it is because I never let anything get under my skin.”
Nothing says “the end” like dry bones.

“The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.” Ezekiel‬ ‭37:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

WHY DO WE ALWAYS SEEM TO THINK THE END IS THE END?
A) Because we forget Who We Serve!
1) We serve the OUT-OF-NOTHING CREATOR
I can create something out of something
• Mess out clean house or kitchen
• Paper and colored pencils and create something
• Basement, wood, wire, fixtures and create an apartment
• Material, sewing thread and create garment
“…the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not….Romans 4:17
“CALLS THINGS WHICH ARE NOT AS THOUGH THEY WERE”
EX NIHILO CREATION – “OUT OF NOTHING”
“For in him all things were created:

things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” Colossians‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

2) We serve THE GOD To Whom Nothing Is IMPOSSIBLE
“Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭19:26‬ ‭NIV‬‬
“For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment.” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:37‬ ‭AMP‬‬
““Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” ‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭32:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭NIV‬‬
…do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]–” ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭AMP‬‬
3) We serve the SUSTAINER OF ALL Things
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬
4) We serve the CONQUEROR OF ALL Who is LORD OVER ALL

“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭2:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” ‭Philippians‬ ‭2:9-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
WE THINK THE END IS THE END BECAUSE WE FORGET WHO HE IS, AND

B) Because We don’t think like God thinks.
God’s thoughts and ways are higher than our thoughts and ways

““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:8-9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God,” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭4:19-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬
We think the end is the end because we forget who we serve
We think the end is the end because we don’t think like God thinks and
C) Because as humans, we are shortsighted by nature
We too often miss the big picture because our focus is on the now!

So, what do we do?
1. When it looks like the end, look for a beginning
Ezekiel 37:1-5
Let’s look at several situations in the Bible where it looked like the end was the end, but IT WAS NOT!
Picture these situations….

• Ezekiel 37: The valley floor was strewn with very dry bones – it was the end
• Isaiah 10 ends with a forest cut down. Isaiah 11 begins with “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse.”
“See, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, will lop off the boughs with great power. The lofty trees will be felled, the tall ones will be brought low. He will cut down the forest thickets with an ax; Lebanon will fall before the Mighty One.” ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭10:33-34‬ ‭NIV‬‬
• The widow of ZAREPHATH felt like it was the end. Her only son was dead.
“Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing.” ‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭17:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬
• The wife of a prophet who died thought it was the end.
“The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”” ‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬
• The Shunamite – Her son, her only son, an unrequested miracle son, was DEAD!
“The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. He said to his father, “My head! My head!” His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died.”. ‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭4:18-20‬ ‭NIV‬‬
• Lazarus was DEAD – very dead – it was the end
“Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died.” John 11
• The widows son was without question DEAD – all her hopes of aging support were dead
“Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.”Luke‬ ‭7:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬
• Jairus’s daughter was clearly DEAD; the mourners were right, Jairus’s hopes were ended
“While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭5:35‬ ‭NIV‬‬
• The woman with the issue of blood was incurable – 12 years and a lifetime of savings brought no cure – it was the end of her money, and the end of her possibilities
• Jesus was without question absolutely DEAD, and placed in the tomb.
In each of these situations, GOD WAS NOT FINISHED YET!
It may look like we are at an end at Brookhill Wesleyan
It may seem that things will be ending with our well loved pastor resigning and planning to leave. But…I have a message from the Lord for you this morning –

God is NOT done with Brookhill yet!
When it looks like the end, look for a beginning!

2. When your brain takes offense, obey anyway – it makes sense.
• Ezekiel was looking at dry bone death and hopelessness. He was told to speak to the bones that were strewn all across the valley. 1, 2. How could speaking to the bones make any difference? !
• WIDOW OF ZAREPHATH – What good would it do to send for or get the prophet Elijah? 1-2
• Prophets wife told to collect jars1-2
• SHUNAMITE – got on donkey and traveled 39 miles (7-8 hours) to get Elisha 1-2
• MARTHA – Lazarus already stunk. To roll the stone away was offensive. It didn’t make good sense. What good would it do? 1-2!
• Widow of Nain’s son was dead. Stopping the funeral procession was Taboo – outside acceptable social parameters. Someone might be upset. Jesus stopped the procession. 1-2
• Jairus daughter was already dead. Why bother the teacher anymore? Leave the room. What good would it do to leave the room? 1-2!
• The blind man when Jesus spit on his eyes, and touched his eyes – he was partially healed. Then he allowed Jesus to touch him a second time. What good would it do? ABSURD!
• What good would it do to have hope now that the Giver of Hope lay wrapped in grave clothes behind a large stone? ABSURD!

3. Completed obedience = completed miracle!
Each of these stories could have had a different ending.

• What if Ezekiel had been content with skin and bones – the appearance of life?
• What if Ezekiel had not commanded the Wind as he was told to do?
• Widow of ZAREPHATH – what if she had not sent for Elijah?
• Shunamite – what if she had been content with Gehazi and the staff and it not working?
• What if the potential stink at Lazarus’s tomb stopped Martha and Mary and Jesus?
• What if the funeral procession had continued?
• What if the mourners had refused to leave the room of death?
• What if the crowd had been content that Jesus was simply there and the girl stayed dead?
• What if Jesus had remained in the tomb?
In each case, when it looked like the end, they each did what they believed they were supposed to do.
They completed their obedience.
Brookhill, it looks like the end.
Obedience may seem, look or feel absurd, but…

What obedience does God expect of Brookhill?

This is YOUR CHURCH!
Satan does not like this church.
He wants you to leave and miss the blessing of complete obedience.
He wants you to go somewhere else and miss out on what God is about to do.
Satan wants you to think it is the end, and LEAVE.
CONNECT

CONNECT BY Continued attendance
CONNECT BY Continued movement toward covenant membership
CONNECT BY Continued personal connection with God

GROW

GROW by continuing TAWG
GROW by involvement in small groups, SS Classes

SHARE

SHARE financially by continued tithing and giving because it blesses YOU!
Some of you are meant to share even more than you have yet.
SHARE with others by stepping up and using your gifts … And a God has laid it on your heart but you are reluctant.
SHARE by doing what God has planted in your heart

When it looks like the end, look for a beginning!
When your brain takes offense, obey anyway. It makes sense!
Complete your obedience. Complete your miracle!
4. Watch God be God

• When Ezekiel’s obedience was complete, what did he get to do? 1 Watch God’s breath rush into the unmoving bodies of the army as they come alive! GOD WANTS TO BREATHE A FRESH WIND INTO BROOKHILL!
• When The widow sent for Elijah, and he obeyed inner voice, what did he get to do? 1. as he raises widow’s son by power of God.
• When the widow obeyed, what did she get to do? 1
• Elisha as he raises the Shunamite’s son. God wants to raise to life what has been dead in your life!
• Watch as Jesus speaks, “Lazarus, come forth!” And Lazarus walks out of the grave.
• Watch as Jesus raises the widow’s son
• Watch as Jesus raises Jairus’s daughter
• Watch as the woman with blood issues touches his robe and is healed completely!
• Watch as the blind man is touched a second time and sees.
• Watch as Jesus conquers death and rises from the dead!
When Brookhill obeys God and chooses the man He has already chosen, what will you get to do? 1
Brookhill’s story is not over!
God has a Word for Brookhill today!
• Though it looks like the end, Brookhill, LOOK FOR A BEGINNING!
• When your brain takes offense, obey anyway. It makes sense!
• Complete your obedience = complete blessing.
• God is longing to do something beyond our wildest imaginations here at Brookhill!

Watch God be God!

Easter – It’s About Eternal Life and Eternal Relationship

Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”
Luke‬ ‭24:5‬ ‭NKJV‬‬
It should not have surprised anyone that Jesus rose from the dead. At least not anyone who recognized that Jesus was and is God. It is simply who He is. 

Easter Sunday proved it!

Power over death by Jehovah, our God, had been implied long before Jesus’s resurrection. The only question that remained was, “Is Jesus really God?”
Jesus bought the widow of Nain’s son back from death. He also brought the little girl back from death. 

Elijah and Elisha, well known prophets of Jehovah, brought people back from the dead. 

But there is more: Ever wonder why God was so patient with Israel? The answer lies in God’s power over death! Two men, among others come to mind: Abraham and David. 

God remembered his convenant with them and their children because the covenant was as alive as they were! 

When Israel turned away from God, He wasn’t just remembering Abraham, his friend, and David who loved Him.  Abraham and David were with Him when he was so patient with Israel.

It was like He turned to them, and sighed as he said, “There go your kids again.”  He was patient because the ones who were long dead from this world were very real and alive in His presence! He honored His promise to them in part because of the relationship He was still having with two very real, very much alive people!

It is just part of Who our God is. He is greater, more powerful than anything this world is or has or can do – including the one thing that wins over every human – death! And when He invites us to enter into a relationship with Him, it is not to be taken lightly. It is a FOREVER RELATIONSHIP!

Easter Sunday – Jesus’s victory over death – reminds us that death is NOT THE END – that we too can live FOREVER and that the relationship He offers to us is also FOREVER!

Abraham and David are with Him right now, this Easter Sunday, rejoicing in His power over death and in His patience with us, their children and His. They are still enjoying relationship with Him!

Have you accepted His offer of eternal life and eternal relationship?

The “Two U’s” Resort

2 U's Resort Image Free

The bugs are terrible. “Two U’s” Resort is a damp place infested with vicious fleas, attack mosquitoes and nearly invisible ticks! No one in their right mind would choose to vacation or live there! Yet many of us have either visited, lived there or are currently staying there. Where is this supremely undesirable resort? Nestled among the largest cities of the world, or hidden in the most idyllic of settings, it has locations all around the world. The Two U’s” Resort is known by another name, one with which you are much more familiar –  Unemployment and Underemployment Inn!

The vicious fleas of unanswered questions bite incessantly and when you try to scratch with the few answers you have, it only makes the itch worse. How could I be unemployed? Why did they not renew my contract? Why did they promote someone over me? Why did they make me train my replacement, then let me go? Why am I working at a rate so far below what I formerly made? What happened to companies that really care about their employees?

The attack mosquitoes of self doubt are worse than on a summer picnic. They buzz around you, dive bombing and biting when you least expect it. Am I the problem? If only I had pursued that degree, maybe I would still have a job. If I were more outgoing, more successful, younger, or if I had lost some weight, or maybe if I dressed differently maybe I would still have a job. What could I have done differently to avoid this? Was it something I said? Why is this happening to me?

And then, there are the invisible ticks! The little buggers you didn’t know were there until you discover them invisibly sipping your life and gorging themselves on your very life blood, and realize they have left you with the disease of resentment. How could they have done that to me? How dare they treat me like that? I am better than that. I didn’t deserve to be treated that way. Of all the nerve!

I have been living at the “Two U’s” Resort since June of 2015. I certainly did not expect that after completing my PhD in November 2014 that I would find myself at this all inclusive resort! During my time here, I have learned two simple things to deal with the fleas, the mosquitoes and the ticks. You can too!

A friend of mine at church approached me last Sunday morning to congratulate me on my new position. Oops! While I welcome the well wishes, I am still living at the “Two U’s” Resort and in need of a FT job.

“So,” you ask,  “what are the unexpected perks mentioned in the title? I don’t like fleas, mosquitoes or ticks. How could a place like that ever have any perks?”

It has not been easy, I confess. Persistence was is required. I have cleaned out the vicious fleas, the dive bombing mosquitoes and the invisible ticks. How?

1. Bug Bomb With Gratitude – The “Two U’s” Resort is a place in your mind. Flood your mind with something that will kill off the fleas, mosquitoes and ticks like a bug bomb. What is that? For me, the bug bomb has been gratitude. I have come to a realization that simply because I was blessed to have had a good job (for as long as I have had one), and blessed that my jobs generated comfortable income -that such was not and is not guaranteed to me! In many places around the world, people still struggle to make even $1 – $2 a day! I have never worked for that little. I have had so much. I still have so much. Flood your mind with gratitude, then repeat the application as needed until all the fleas, mosquitoes and ticks are gone. If they return, apply again!

How? Find something to be thankful for – anything. Be thankful for your the family you have. Be thankful for the extra time you have with family and friends. Be thankful for your current income source even if it is meager, or is from an unemployment check from the government. Be thankful for the things you have learned and are still learning about yourself and your work ethic. Be thankful for the experience you have gained and the things you have learned.

Gratitude deals with the unanswered questions and the self doubt. When you are thinking and breathing a constant source of gratitude, the questions vanish, the self doubt disappears and a wholesome approach to your situation returns.

Caution: flooding your mind with gratitude will not guarantee you a new job. However, it will soak into your attitudes and make you a much more viable candidate for another job when the opportunity arises.

Gratitude kills the ticks, but it will not necessarily cure the disease of resentment with which you have been infected.

2. Cure Resentment By Confession

It was a difficult thing when I realized that I had been infected with resentment. Resentment was so logical and made so much sense that I didn’t even realize I had been infected until one morning I saw it. It was one of those moments when a long sequence of situations and occurrences suddenly came together, and I realized that, as uncomfortable as it was to admit, I was definitely infected. From there, it was a simple matter of confession or admitting my condition. I write regularly in a journal, so I went back over as many situations as I could think of and admitted in writing that I resented that person, and that one, and that one, and that one. With each admission came a release. I had carefully guarded my actions toward people for years, so there was not a lot of obvious action associated with the resentment, but it was very obvious in my heart. If your disease has manifested itself in your actions, you may find additional release by discussing the feelings of resentment with the persons toward whom they were focused. The change in my heart and mind was almost palpable. I could tell things were different.

Conclusion: I am still living at the “Two U’s” Resort. I know now how to control the vicious fleas, the attacking mosquitoes and the invisible ticks. Whenever they try to return, I apply gratitude and confession again and again. I would like to leave here as soon as I can, but at least my stay is not so unpleasant as it was before I dealt with the bugs. The perks are that I have learned how to be positive while living here!

If you are also staying at the Two U’s” Resort, get rid of the bugs and the disease. Bug bomb your mind with gratitude, and cure your resentment by confession!

Footnote:   I would appreciate your help. If you know of or hear of a position that might be a fit for my education, experience and skills, I would appreciate hearing about it whether it is in education, ministry, or an opportunity I have not even considered. The Two U’s” Resort is not where I want to stay. Thanks for your help.