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Jesus and the Disciples in a Storm

Wow! I’ve been resting on Matthew 14:16 the last few days. For days I couldn’t seem to get past this single verse: “But Jesus said to them, ‘They do not need to go away. YOU give them something to eat.” (emphasis mine)

Confusion

What was I supposed to glean from that verse that would be applicable to my life now. My “nest” has been ruffled up. My comfort zone is not “comfortable” right now. What do I have to offer…to GIVE…Feeling off-center and a bit like I was sinking.

What Do I Have to Offer?

Meditating on this single verse has been a lifeline…pointing me to clarity of purpose once again.

There were leftovers

This verse is part of the story of the 5 loaves, 2 fish. AND of the 12 baskets full left over. (After feeding 5,000 + people!)

The disciples were frustrated with all the people that would need something to eat. Unfortunately, there was no fast food restaurant nearby. They were concerned. So, they went to Jesus to tell Him the problem (because maybe they thought He didn’t realize the problem. 🙂 All they had was a little boy’s lunch. They had their own ideas what needed to be done, but Jesus had a different plan. That is where Matthew 14:16 comes into the picture.)

Blessing and breaking

Jesus had taken the 5 loaves and 2 fish that the disciples had brought him. He then looked up to Heaven, blessed the food and broke it into pieces and gave all of it to the disciples to distribute to the MULTITUDES. (Do you ever wonder what they were thinking right then?? I do! Kinda funny to think about!) So, back to our story…They gave Him what they had. He multiplied it, but THEY had to “give them something to eat.” THEY had to distribute what God had multiplied. (Reminds me of a poem by Annie Johnson Flint “Hands and Feet for Jesus”.)

They ate what had been multiplied and were FILLED. No more hunger. Filled. Filled with what was first given to Jesus and blessed by Him. FILLED…with much more left over than they even started with. Twelve baskets full LEFT OVER!!! (Here’s where I have been stopping to talk to Jesus a minute. Will you join me?)

Thank You, Lord, for the LITTLE I have to offer. Thank You, that when I give it up to You for Your purposes, You will multiple it to meet the need…and sometimes with some left over. You multiple my LITTLE for others’ sake! Not to hoard, but to give out…to the multitude!

Resting and chewing

I seriously have been resting on this story for days! There is so much there to “chew on”. (Sorry…I couldn’t help myself there!)

After the Offering

Then, after all were fed, Jesus sent them all away—even the disciples—and then He went away—alone—to pray.

He prayed MANY hours. It is stunning that He went away alone. He didn’t “work” the crowd. He didn’t seek glory, attention, or honor or praise for all He had done. Rather, He went to talk with His Father…to spend time alone with His Father. He had merely been doing what He was created to do.

They still didn’t “get it”. Nor does Peter, the Otter personality.

Even after the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the disciples still didn’t “get it”…which they prove by their reactions while in the boat, without Jesus,  experiencing a storm with strong wind. Note they all were very fearful. Even Peter. Let’s call this the “Peter walking on the water” story.

Peter was different than the others. You know Peter. He often spoke whatever came to his mind, and often acted impulsively. Peter was an Otter personality type (Leading From Your Strengths).  He liked to be right in the middle of the action. The party doesn’t start until the Otter arrives! They are FUN!

Without thinking it through, Peter couldn’t wait for Jesus to come into the boat with them. He wouldn’t wait! So, he  stepped out of the boat. And, he was actually safe UNTIL he took his eyes off Jesus and onto the stormy seas.

Typically, Otters love adventure, new things, and get excited about every new opportunity.  They don’t have to think about it. OF COURSE NOT! After all, what could go wrong, right? 😉

They want what they want NOW. They don’t like to wait. It is not surprising Peter did not evaluate the options before flinging himself into the middle of the action. So he stepped out of the boat and walked on the water. BUT when he took his eyes off Jesus and onto the turbulent water, he began to sink! And then he cried out for help. Then he reached out his hand to grab ahold of Jesus. And Jesus saved him. He did not drown. And they got in the boat together.

(Otters are wonderful adventurers, but often bite off more than they can chew, and right smack dab in the middle of their adventure, they just might need some assistance. And then, they let you take over because they are on to the next adventure. You can’t keep a good Otter down.)

And now the storm is past and all was well…

UNTIL the next time Peter and friends forget what they have learned from the provision of the loaves and fishes and on the stormy sea…

What Do I Have to Offer?

Are you like me?

I think there’s an obvious reason why God impressed on me to call my business Loaves and Fishes Coaching., so many years ago. I have always loved this story. And that theme of the loaves and fishes is on my mind often:

What do I have to offer? Am I willing? Do I trust GOD to do with it as He sees fit? It is a timeless principle. A theme that I have to keep re-learning. I have to ask myself. Do *I* REALLY “get it”???

What about you?

Do you have to keep re-learning things about Jesus’ trustworthiness that you thought you already knew?

Can you honestly answer the question, “What do I have to offer?”

My Father: Experiencing God's Love A-Z

Pamela Taylor invites you to join her in this interactive acrostic devotional journal designed to draw you into the extremely personal and abundant love God has waiting for you. Experience the "Just ask..." of His love for you!

My Father: Experiencing God's Love from A-Z by Pamela A. Taylor

Let's Connect!Until next time,
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


It’s Not about the Feet

Bare feet through mud and what it has to do with washing feet in the Bible

Washing Feet in the Bible

David Jeremiah teaches that in the ancient world, to share a meal with others is an intimate activity. It affirms mutual trust. It would be inconceivable to eat with one’s enemy…making Judas’ actions incomprehensible. And yet, Jesus again went against tradition. His love has no conditions.

The roads were dusty

Washing feet in the Bible, why was it so important?

Everyone wore sandals. Feet got really dirty. A servant normally met travelers at the door and washed their feet. However, against tradition, that did not happen to this “crew” of fishermen and a tax collector in John 13. Dirty feet entered the room unwashed.

Their hearts were exposed

“(He) rose from supper and laid aside His garments, and taking the towel…” (John 13:4)

Jesus and the disciples were already at the table. No servant is mentioned. And not a single one of them had chosen to wash the feet of their weary friends. The mismatched crew of travelers simply all sat down with dirty feet. So against the norm, Jesus rose from supper… and washed their feet.

Serve or be served?

  1. Jesus did not summon a slave or servant to make them do the task. Rather, after seeing the need, He acted. He served. Washing their feet.
  2. He saw the opportunity for an object lesson and seized the teachable moment.

Peter the Missionary (pre-Pentecost)

No wonder Peter was confused. Against tradition, this King, this Healer, this Teacher, the One they had all hoped would rescue them from the Roman tyranny…this Jesus had gotten up from the table in order to wash their feet. This was not very Kingly! This is not what they had signed up for. Peter doesn’t like weakness.

Outspoken, impulsive, rash, Peter

What happens when Jesus wants to wash his feet? Surprise! Peter forcefully objects. *sigh* A work in progress, pre-Pentecost Missionary Peter is horrified!

Washing feet in the Bible is not about the feet

Jesus explains to Peter that he needs to submit. And of course, “my way or the highway” Peter with his worldly mindset, tells Jesus what to do. Peter is quite the leader, don’t you think? He will instruct Jesus to wash not only his feet, but his hands and head as well.

But, John chapter 13 is not about washing feet. If it were, then Jesus would have gotten each of them to immediately get up from the table and wash each other’s feet.

What IS it about?

  1. Jesus willingly did the job reserved for the lowest of all slaves.
  2. He did not think Himself above anyone.
  3. It was a SYMBOLIC act of humble service. Done with love. Done willingly. Joyfully.
  4. He was not forced to do it. He chose to.
  5. His true followers will follow His example, with the same heart and enthusiasm.

And best of all…

Impulsive, rash, loud-spoken, forceful Peter, a (high “D”) Lion personality has been chosen by God to be part of His “team”. Jesus sees Peter’s value. He understands He is a work in progress. Peter loves Jesus. But he continually fails Him. Jesus knows a secret that Peter and friends do not yet know: Holy Spirit can round off the rough edges. Peter wants to be like Jesus, but he is not quite there yet. Not here…not in Chapter 13.

Submission & service

This is a lesson every follower of Christ, (whether a foreign missionary or not) must learn and put into practice. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we joyfully serve. We DO what Jesus DID. Submitting to what He SAYS. And we learn to embrace our personality type rather than fight it. We realize our strengths are necessary in the Body of Christ. But we also realize that we are all just a single piece of the bigger puzzle picture. Always remembering to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought. We need each other’s strengths. TOGETHER we make a beautiful and complete picture in Christ.

Missionary Peter learns this

…but not until he has even more slip-ups of rushing into situations without being led by the Spirit. So, only after being filled with the Holy Spirit at Pentecost does Peter become the person Jesus always knew he could and would be. Over time and with the Spirit’s leading, he learned to use his strengths wisely. So you see, there is hope. Always hope. For you. For me. For the Peter’s in your life.

Are you ready…

to learn to appreciate what God intended when He created you? To find your God-given purpose in life? The abundant life is where you and the joy of the Lord intersect; and remember it is not about the feet… 😉 It is about so much MORE!

It begins with Leading From Your Strengths. I am only a click away…

My Father: Experiencing God's Love A-Z

Pamela Taylor invites you to join her in this interactive acrostic devotional journal designed to draw you into the extremely personal and abundant love God has waiting for you. Experience the "Just ask..." of His love for you!

My Father: Experiencing God's Love from A-Z by Pamela A. Taylor

Let's Connect!Until next time,
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


What’s Going On? And What Can I Do About It?

Woman Looking Confused

A Christian Perspective.

Our Creator knew what would bring us the most peace and joy and even “influence”. We are told in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to “take every thought captive unto obedience in Christ.” We must guard against the temptation to let our emotions rule, but rather to take the time to stop and ponder what we hear and then to carefully choose the course of response. Sometimes that does mean stepping on a few toes. Sometimes it means remaining silent and prayerful for a more opportune and wise time. Sometimes it means an immediate response is necessary.

How do we know?

Where do we begin? As followers of Christ, each day must begin with spending time in the Word of God, and praying for wisdom, favor, insight and courage to do whatever GOD directs us to do and say. We all KNOW that! but…do we practice that as a priority routinely? These are very difficult days. Emotions are high. Lots of things do not make sense. There is a lot of confusion, which causes fear and anger.

Our Role model.

At the times when we’re offended, we’re wise to remember our Savior, Jesus, was often misunderstood but His only INFLUENCER was GOD HIMSELF. He did not cave in or run away when it was difficult. He cared about every single person. Whether they agreed with Him or not. However, He stood strong and faithful to His calling to GLORIFY GOD in everything He did and said. No matter what it cost Him personally. He is our role model. Getting to know Him intimately must be our single greatest goal. That relationship with Him is where we get the wisdom and power to be a true disciple.

What is going on?

As I am typing this, I am wondering: what’s going on in our wonderful country? And in our world! Taking offense is like a badge of honor. Each “side” trying to put the other one straight. Bullying is rampant. There is a palpable need to be RIGHT. As Christ followers, we must fight the emotion of NEEDING to be RIGHT. The strength to do that comes from seeking extra time with the Lord. It is an act of will to CHOOSE to embrace the mind of Christ. He will not force Himself on us.

What are your triggers?

For each of us, it is so important to understand our own personal strengths and the uniqueness of your own personality. Know WHAT are the “triggers” that set you off. Recognize them when they come cloaked in a new way. Know yourself well enough to know when you can be effective and when you are tempted to react in the flesh rather than yielding to the spirit of God. This is a life-long process—maturing in Christ. BECOMING what He intended when He created you.

Appreciate differences

It is important to recognize the uniqueness and various personality strengths of others, as well. Some take offense more readily than others. Some step back into a safe space, hating any form of disagreement or confrontation. They may get their feelings hurt easily, taking offense at things not even meant the way they interpret them They do that to their own harm. They begin to dislike themselves and feel unloved and unimportant. That is a lie, but it can cause them great distress and maybe cause them to join up with someone more aggressive so they feel like they gain a degree of POWER back again. That is the wrong reason to join forces. It is just one more way to put “self” on the throne.

Aggressive people are valuable

Some people are aggressive and forceful in their personalities. Not wanting to wait for things to work out. They are the pioneers. What would we do without them? They seem to want to MAKE things work out quickly so they can move on to the next thing that needs “fixing”. However, they don’t like anyone disagreeing with them. They take offense if questioned and may get angry, causing others to cower and give in to them. They may be impatient and not want to take the time to understand that others bring much needed  “value” to the situation. Their lack of consulting with others–often simply out of expediency–actually causes great harm to all, unless they learn to appreciate each others differences and value.

If only we could all learn to play nice together.

But, that would be Heaven, wouldn’t it? Someday, someday, dear friend. But, in the meantime, we must all go through the process of maturing in Christ. It is definitely a process. We can choose to do it the hard way or the easy way. Either God will do the humbling (the hard way), or we can choose to humble ourselves before God (the less painful way for the true disciple of Christ).

Seeking to understand the whole picture.

Life is hard, but God is always good. He created each of us with our unique personality. It is up to us, to make the best of it. To embrace who we are–who GOD created us to be–and to cooperate with the Potter as He patiently molds us into vessels fit for His use.

Study people.

It takes a willingness to ask questions and to actually make a decision to STUDY people in your realm of influence. It takes a desire to bring out the best in them, rather than to be right. I, too, have struggled with this my whole life. So, don’t give up. It is worth the struggle. Worth the hard work. Worth the extra time in the Bible and in prayer. To God be the Glory is our goal.

Contentment.

Like Paul. He said he had learned the secret. The secret is choosing to be content. Take every thought captive. Rather than struggling to be personally “understood”, contentment comes with choosing to love GOD above all others, and then having the Holy Spirit power to love ONE ANOTHER—the goal in the Scriptures. It is a daunting task when we try to do it in the flesh. But in the Spirit, it can bring healing. Of course, it takes BOTH people willing to yield, but SOMEONE has to START. Someone has to go FIRST.

So, if you find yourself doing any of these things:

  • Taking it personally
  • Defending yourself
  • Having a bruised ego & counterattacking
  • Fuming with anger
  • Feeling sorry for yourself
  • Wanting to retaliate or hoping harm comes to the other person

Step back, take a deep breath, and ask God for His perspective. Pray for wisdom and the power to understand the true issue and what part YOU are playing in it!

Is there something you need to think or do differently? Are you willing?

It does not mean you are WRONG. Perhaps the other is absolutely totally wrong, but responding in kind does not help. Always remembering Jesus is our role model. We absolutely can DO this!

If you need a listening ear or some clarity how to move forward in your journey in this crazy world that is not your home, use the “Let’s Connect” blue button below. Remember, this world is our training ground. We are only passing through on our way HOME.

Jimmy Learns about Life

Join Jimmy and his mama in this lighthearted book of character traits for kids. Jimmy is your average 7-year-old. He is going through life, having fun, and learning a lot along the way. Through mishaps, ministry, and more, Jimmy learns that there’s more to life than first impressions. Each chapter of this book contains a character trait Jimmy learns during teachable moments of life.

Jimmy Learns about Life by Pamela A. Taylor

Let's Connect!Until next time,
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Benefits of Positive Persuasion

Three women talking and laughing
I am learning about persuasion and perspective from Scott Adams, author and podcaster. In one podcast, I remember that he shared in an interview about one of his pivotal memories. Here is of what I heard him say…

Dale Carnegie

Scott was in a Dale Carnegie training event. They were all strangers to each other and only knew what had been spoken during the training. And yet, the facilitator gave them an “impossible” assignment to write a compliment on separate pieces of paper, for each member of the class. One person complained that they simply didn’t know enough to compliment each other. Nevertheless, the assignment was required.

It seemed dumb

The compliments could not possibly be sincere, because there was no real knowledge about each other.

The next day

So, they each turned in their packet of compliments (one for each person in the class). Then one day, in the mail, each received the pile of “compliments” from their classmates. He was skeptical, and yet imagine Scott’s surprise that with each one he read (even the surface-y ones), he felt his confidence growing. They each had an impact for good, even though he KNEW they couldn’t be heartfelt because they simply did not even really KNOW anything about each other.

Imagine with me

If all that is possible in a secular setting, imagine with me what is possible with God at the center…

Strengths Coaching

I’m a strengths coach. As a coach, I don’t try to FIX you. And we don’t blame others for how things turned out for you in your life. Rather, we look realistically at today. The past is past. You can never have a better past, so NOW WHAT? Let’s work on what you can do today.

Forward Thinking

I help you discover, through a Ministry Insights, Leading From Your Strengths, assessment, what your God-given strengths are. Then, I help you learn to recognize others’ strengths, (like when Scott’s classmates were looking for things to compliment about each other).

The world wants to beat you down and point out what is wrong with you. The world wants to have you concentrate on strengthening your weaknesses. That is like looking at the world through someone else’s glasses. That just makes us a bunch of unfocused, ineffective, partially successful people. God has a better plan. He wants you to look at what is right and good and noteworthy in yourself. And in others. Through coaching, you can learn how it all fits together like the pieces in a puzzle.

It seemed dumb

In my coach training, and my previous training in counseling, we too did exercises similar to what Scott speaks of in his Dale Carnegie course. I can remember an assignment that seemed dumb. We broke down into twos and we asked each other what was called “the powerful question”. It’s used when people are STUCK and can’t move forward. It seemed dumb because we all knew what the question was, so I remember thinking, it would not work on me. I know others felt the same way. Both in counseling and then in my coaching classes, too. And yet, it worked! What about you?

Are you struggling in an area?

Maybe you just don’t know what to do about something in your life!

The powerful question is:

“So…If you DID know what to do, what would it be?”

That question, should not work, and yet it does! EVERY TIME! It worked when I was being coached and it works now. It works when you don’t know it is coming and it works when you do know it is coming. Just like the “compliments assignment’’ in the Dale Carnegie courses. It should not work, and yet it does! EVERY TIME!

It unlocks the brain

Questions like that actually unlock your brain from what has impacted it negatively by life and disasters and relationships. Your brain has believed it must be different than God’s design. A brain impacted by a kinda scary world gone nutty lately. So, these assignments in positive persuasion have amazing potential to unlock your brain, and to open you up to possibilities.  To inner joy and peace. To embracing who God created you to be.

Because God says in the Bible…

Philippians 4:13 (KJV) “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”

Mark 10:27b (KJV) “… for with God all things are possible.”

Mark 9:23 (JV) “Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

Let me know when you want to find out more about your own possibilities.

Maranatha!
Come Lord Jesus!

God bless you bunches!

Let's Connect!Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com

Filed under: Personality Strengths and Weaknesses — Tags: , — Pam Taylor @ 7:00 am

God Will Use the Loaves and Fishes You Bring to Him

Loaves and Fishes Logo
On the Christian Book Academy Zoom call today, the teachers’ topic was that God takes our little and turns it into much. I was blessed by the reminder. The topic was how to view our writing but it can be applied to everything in our lives as Christians. I remembered I had written a blog about that topic shortly after my website was “born”. So, here is a new version of that blog from 2012.

The young boy’s lunch.

”There’s a boy here with five barley loaves and two fish. But what good is that with this huge crowd?” – John 6:9 NLT

Pessimist much?

Isn’t that what we do, too? We get negative. A scarcity mentality takes over. We know that God is our Provider. But in a bit of a twisted humility, we minimize what we have to offer “to the world”. And yet, what we have to offer came from God. If you are anything like me, we have some work to do to get in alignment with God’s plan. What do you think? Ready?

Learn to lead from your strengths.

First things first: Discover through the Leading From Your Strengths consultation and coaching who God made you to be . Guaranteed, it will give you a good start on moving forward wherever God is leading you. I know from experience, having your own personal “cheerleader” (mentor coach) minimizes the stress of the journey.

Even when you get off track, a life coach doesn’t try to fix you. Rather, she helps you discover what is special about the way God made you. It is already there inside you. She just helps you find it! And then she helps you figure out how it works in your relationships. Learning to actually value others’ differences. It’s so fun to figure out WHY we EACH do what we do. Understanding the 4 personality types is a huge “game changer”. You will look at everyone through fresh eyes.

As children we have tons of dreams and hopes

Even if you have forgotten your vision, hopes, or dreams, let’s talk. You can discover them anew. And then, when you surrender them to God, He will take them and just like he did with the young boy who surrendered his lunch of “ONLY” 5 barley loaves and 2 fish, God will use your “ONLY” that you bring to Him, too. HOWEVER,  you have to take that first step toward Him.  Surrendering what you have, like the young boy did.

I’m excited for all that God has in mind for you.

That’s the reason for Loaves and Fishes Life Coaching. The name for my business came from those very same verses in the Bible about the young boy. Jesus had been teaching the multitudes all day and they were hungry, so the disciples come to Jesus and asked Him what to do. They reasoned that it would cost a small fortune and a lot of precious time if they went into town and to buy the huge amount of food that would be needed for such a great multitude. (Their faith was still being formed. And they were suffering from that scarcity mentality we all can so easily fall into.)

Not up for the task?

Do you think you have nothing to offer? That you are not enough? The blessing is that when God calls, He enables. He provides for the need. The call & the need are not too big for Jesus when we surrender all to Him for His use. Here’s the cool part that I never tire of hearing about the loaves and fishes story:

“So they all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men.” (Mark 6:42-44)

That’s the cool part because that’s how God is with us, too.

Do you see that? 5,000 men ate and were filled...on five loaves and two fish! You might think what you have is not enough; but when you bring it to Him, He blesses it and multiplies it.

And many benefit.

God will use the loaves and fishes you bring to Him.

It is not a maybe. He will do it! Trust Him! But, the big catch is: you have to BRING it to HIM. That means you have to choose to trust even if it is scary. Even if it seems dumb by the world’s standards. God’s ways are not the world’s ways. What is it you want to do? Do you want to stop beating yourself up because you are not like someone else? Are you struggling with relationships? Let’s discover together what your strengths are and then learn how to implement them into your daily life. Ready? I’m only a click away…

Bring what you have and watch what He can do!

Maranatha!
Come Lord Jesus!

God bless you bunches!

Let's Connect!Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


I Confess. I Am a Fanatic. Join Me?

Pam Taylor

Definition of a fanatic

“A person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal, especially for an extreme or political cause.” All of you who know me well, know it is true. When I believe something, I am immovable. BECAUSE I have done my own personal and detailed research! And I don’t quit until I am satisfied that I have thoroughly investigated. So…

I confess. I am absolutely a fanatic

I have been a Leading From Your Strengths “fanatic” for about ten years. I was first introduced to it by Rodney Cox, CEO of Ministry Insights, International. About ten years ago, Rodney gave a “guest” presentation in one of my Coaching classes. I took the assessment, feeling a bit smug, thinking that it would NOT be able to “peg” me, because I kept second guessing & changing my answers as I took the assessment. Nope. I was certain. I would be the exception. They would NOT be able to be put me into a neat little box.

However, I was NOT the exception

I was convinced immediately after my virtual consultation by Rodney (in front of all my classmates and my instructor, by the way) that this was a GIFT to the church. To Christians. To SHOW us how to BE the church. How to encourage one another to love and good deeds. All the things that Scripture instructs us to become TOGETHER. So, I immediately signed up for the training to be a LFYS Consultant. (I took it again, wanting to be the best Strengths Coach I could be. And I became even more convinced that I had a key to help the people of the “church” learn better how to BE the church. To date, I have found nothing better.)
Leading from Your Strengths Certified

Now, I laugh at my doubting

When I saw my 20 page print out, I was stunned. It was ME!!! Most of my life, NO ONE has understood me. Certainly, no one has said to me that I my personality was chosen by God. But that is exactly what I learned. I know I can get on people’s nerves. I have too many questions while trying to understand new stuff that people/bosses/family present to me. That can be MISunderstood as wanting my own way, but I discovered, that my questions are because I am actually wanting enough information that I can be on board, in agreement. I always wondered why I was so intense and why couldn’t I just relax and let stuff roll off my back? “What was WRONG with me? WHY couldn’t I be like EVERYBODY ELSE?” (Probably because NO ONE is like EVERYBODY else! My expectation was unrealistic. AND self-centered.)

The many other options

Yes, there are many other options. And over the years, I have also taken those assessments, like the DISC, Myers-Briggs, and others based on colors, nature, and all sorts of different things. And the main reason for this particular article is the latest SHINY OBJECT that CHRISTIANS are running with. EVERYWHERE, the ENNEAGRAM is the latest MUST DO assessment.

Something about the Enneagram concerned me

So, after these 10 years of understanding that feeling of “concern” is part of why God put me in the body of Christ. To ask people to slow down a bit and be sure we understand what we are getting into before we go full speed ahead with the latest shiny object. Being a Beaver (LFYS) personality, I don’t automatically trust something, just because others say it is OK. God actually commended the Bereans for investigating what they were taught, recognizing counterfeits by comparing it with the original (The Bible). And, we must always remember to consider how our choices may not be “sin” but, they may cause our “weaker” or less Berean-like brothers and sisters to stumble and maybe even fall (Romans 14:14-23). .

Unable to just let it go,

I did some Enneagram investigating on my own. A Beaver personality actually NEEDS to understand—not to argue or disagree—but hoping to be able to be a TEAM player and get enough information to feel comfortable with what everyone else is excited about. I needed to know why in my gut I had concerns. I hoped I was wrong. Sadly, I discovered a form of gnostic based numerology with occultist origins, given in a vision by what sounded a lot like a demon. I was put off by the evil and dark origins. The more I investigated,  the more I knew I had to say something on my “platform” that God has given me. Sadly, some say since it is called “Christian Enneagram” that it is OK. You know, like horoscopes, or palm reading. Or like “Christian Yoga”. (If it is Christian, why do we call it Yoga?) Adding the word Christian and adding Bible verses onto something does not automatically make it Biblical. (See links to the right for more info re Ennneagram origins).

Why I stay with Leading From Your Strengths

From what I have witnessed, none have so honored the Word of God and our Creator, like Ministry Insights Leading From Your Strengths (LFYS) does. For me, that is the main reason for 10 years, it is the only Personality Assessment Tool I have kept in my Coaching Toolbox.

Another coach posted on Twitter—referring to Ministry Insight International’s Leading From Your Strengths—“The key is your identity in Christ. LFYS emphasizes this point.” She is so right. That is the key!

Excellent life-changing results

God, the Scriptures, loving & accepting others—all Biblical principles—added to the base of discovering our Identity in Christ.

It’s like when a law enforcement officer is trained to recognize a counterfeit bill by studying the original. He learns everything else is counterfeit. Easy peasy! That’s kinda how I feel about LFYS. In another blog post, I wrote to explain in more detail WHY I feel so strongly about sticking with what works for me and for my clients. I have personally witnessed many lives totally transformed through this amazing tool. Mine, included! Here’s more of my testimony: “Which Personality Assessment Tool is the Best?

Have you ever noticed…

Why do you seem to be one person at work and another person at home? Ask yourself: Why are you more intense in some situations? What are others’ perceptions of you under stress? What does your health and finances have to do with your personality? All these questions are answered in the consultation. A trained coach will help you apply it to every part of your life…work, family, play, physical, mental, financial, etc. To become all God intended. Resulting in being Joy-filled.

We fool ourselves

We think we know ourselves. But unless the Lord God is the center of our growth, self-deception can get in the way of our maturity in Christ. It is really important to walk through this personality type journey with a coach who has been trained in the process. I know I have repeated that often. It is crucial! Often we just take ANOTHER assessment and read the results with interest; and then just put it on the shelf. And soon, we forget about it entirely.

Take the LFYS assessment, print out the profile, but don’t stop there. Contact me to set up a consultation. You will be delighted and amazed at the freedom you will experience afterwards. It is the consultation with a LFYS trained coach, helping you with the application of it that makes it like GOLD. Of great value to your life and relationships.

You will discover and embrace all God intended you to be when He created you.

Let's Connect!Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com

Filed under: Personality Strengths and Weaknesses — Tags: — Pam Taylor @ 7:00 am

Getting to Know Noah. The Man. And the Ark.

A man with a hammer

What makes a man stand so strong?

What was it about Noah’s personality that he was able to complete such a daunting task against all odds? Against all his friends and neighbors mocking him. Staying on task for 120 years.

Signs of the times

The Lord God saw the widespread corruption and violence, and was sorry He had made man on the earth. So, He decided to destroy the people and animals He had created.

The man. Noah was different

Noah was a righteous man. Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord God. He was a just man. He had a wife and three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. They built the ark together, while Noah preached to the masses. (UNsuccessfully. For 120 years.)

The Ark

God gave the man specific measurements and details. God told Noah that He would bring flood waters to the earth to kill everything on the earth. Noah had a timeline and kept focused on his duties. He stayed righteous through the whole process. He warned his friends and neighbors. But they ignored him or mocked him. They apparently did not believe him because when the time came, only Noah and his family were invited on board by God, along with the chosen animals for sacrifice and for food; and there was a male and a female of each, so they could reproduce after the flood waters receded, so life could survive on earth again. I am assuming all of you reading this already know the story very well. Let’s look at Noah’s personality. Why was Noah chosen?

All aboard!

When the time came, Noah and his family went on board, along with the chosen animals and the food that all would need. Seven days later, it began to rain and it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Noah was 600 years old. (So no excuses from any of you that you are too old. )

Noah’s personality

According to Ministry Insights Leading From Your Strengths (LFYS) personality profiles, I believe that Noah was a Lion personality type. Here’s is a bit of a summary of that style of personality:

  • Task person
  • Doesn’t like to waste time
  • Wants to get ‘er done NOW
  • Goal oriented
  • Focused
  • Hard working
  • Visionary
  • Direct and to the point

All was well when he had specific instructions

It took great faith. And, all those traits served him well during the years it took to build the big boat! Facing huge opposition, he was brave and focused. He had two clearly defined tasks. He was to preach and to build the ark. God made a covenant with Noah. If he went into the ark with his family they would be saved. And God would be the one to shut the door behind them. No one else could enter after God shut the door. No one had ever seen rain before. Noah did all that he was commanded to do. (Genesis 6:22, 7:2) Noah was perfect in his sincerity, but it was not sinless perfection.

After the flood water receded and they were again on dry ground

I am guessing that Noah became a bit depressed after all the re-planting was done. He was no longer doing anything exciting or necessarily challenging. The hard work was all done and probably all they had to do was to just maintain what they had planted. Maybe he was a bit bored with things that are always the same. Lion personality types love a challenge. They love being in charge and independent. A lion personality is usually more aggressive than reflective in problem solving. They will work long hours until a tough problem is solved. After it is solved, they can become bored with routine work that follows.

So in pre-flood days, Noah’s personality was good and helpful. But now what?

David Jeremiah speaks about Gen. 9:20-21. “The Bible’s candid portrayal of the heroes of the faith gives a complete picture of God’s redemptive plan and His ability to use flawed humans. Noah’s plunge from exemplary faithfulness to a drunken, disgraceful stupor is a reminder that no one ever stops needing grace, even in old age. Every Christian is prone to sin; there is no riding on the coat tails of past obedience.”

The consequences of Noah’s sin was shame

Matthew Henry’s Commentary sheds some light on what happened. “Noah, kept sober in drunken company is now drunk in sober company.”

“He was uncovered within his tent, made naked to his shame, as Adam when he ate the forbidden fruit. Yet Adam sought concealment; Noah is so destitute of thought and reason that he needs no covering.

”…(drunkenness) disgraces men and exposes them to contempt. As it shows them, so it shames them. Men say and do that when drunk which when they are sober they would blush at the thought of.”

I had a thought

Grapevines take at least 3 years to mature enough to grow grapes. So Noah was likely really weary waiting. He likely had never been drunk before and probably had no idea how much is TOO MUCH for him to drink of the fruit of the vine. He had waited a long time (not a strong point for a Lion personality) and now he enjoyed the fruit of his labor. But…he drank too much and passed out. I want to note: He was ALONE. In his tent. And in walks Ham. Discovers his father and tells his brothers.

I have often wondered why God “cursed” Ham and son

Matthew Henry reminds us that we are not to glory in the faults of others ESPECIALLY PARENTS, whom it is our duty to honor. Noah was a good man, a good father to Ham, and this was especially dishonoring for him to share what he saw. Ham is called the FATHER of Canaan. Matthew Henry speculates that this is a reminder that Ham should have thought of how he would want his son to treat him if he were in a similar situation. “It intimates that he himself who was a father should have been more respectful to him who was his father.”

1 Peter 4:8 “There is a robe of reverence to be thrown over the faults of parents and other superiors.”

Obey the call. The results are up to God

We know that even today, the world is full of people who want nothing to do with God. Noah preached 120 years and the only ones saved were his family and himself. He never gave up though; he kept preaching to the people while he built the ark, and he left the results to God. it must have been heart wrenching as he was doing what God called him to do, day after day, without results. What do we learn from the story of this man?

Building the ark wasn’t enough

We can’t rest on yesterday’s successes. Each day is a day of new opportunities to obey and walk in integrity. In the end, we each have a choice to make. Can we say. “Jesus Christ is my ark. Have I actually come to Jesus in surrender and pulled away from the world’s tempting influences?” Knowing about it and building it wasn’t enough for Noah. He had to walk through the door to get saved. Then GOD shut the door behind him and his family. When the door was shut, no one else could enter. Don’t be left behind.

Choose to come And leave the results to God. He knows your personality. He created you like that. You are perfectly created for the work He has for you to do. But, most importantly, He also wants you to stay close to Him in all the “seasons” of your life. From today until He comes again…

Enter the ark and obey your call.

Are you curious what personality type you are? Let’s set up a consultation. You will be amazed. AND blessed. I promise. LFYS–as far as I know–is the only Biblically based personality assessment/ consultation you will find. It is my absolute favorite! I have used it with clients and friends for many years.  Why? BECAUSE: It declares your identity is only truly created by God AND discovered in Christ.  AND it stresses we are only one piece of the puzzle. We learn how to BE a blessing the way God intended. That is the foundation of Ministry Insights Leading From Your Strengths (LFYS)!!

Thanks for all you do…

Let's Connect!Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


Eight Ways to Embrace Your 2020 Vision

A Pair of Glasses on a Stack of Books
I’ve been praying and thinking about how I can encourage you as you move into a new decade. 2020 is a big deal. I want first of all to say that God created you to be you. He had a special plan in mind when He made you. So, He wants for you to be the best you, you can be.

Here are the eight ways I promised—to get you started in very practical ways, embracing the next decade. Print the list. Keep it in your planner, journal, or Bible. Don’t try to do them all at once. Just conquer one at a time. Little by little the transformation happens. One new decision per week, and in two months, you will be comfortable with the entire list.

  1. Believe this: The 2019 YOU does NOT define The 2020 YOU. Start fresh. Here’s how…
  2. Know this: Gratitude is the path to joy and inner peace. It is a proven fact.
  3. Choose trust: God is still on the Throne. Choose to walk courageously into 2020.
  4. Look up: Thanking God for at least 3 things before sleep each night can re-set your soul (mind, will, emotions) to enable better sleep.
  5. Choose gratitude: Daily add to a written gratitude journal; you can pick it up any time during the day and be encouraged.
  6. Memorize this: Psalm 100. When stressed, recite it out loud. Let your ears and mind hear your praise often. It’s an auto-re-set!
  7. Choose contentment: By asking for less. By enjoying what you already have. By choosing not to covet what others have.
  8. Tell no one: Do at least one SECRET GOOD DEED per week. Tell NO ONE! It’s a way to bless your Father God!

To be that person God had in mind when He created you, don’t wait another day! Contact me so that we can be certain you and God are on the same page. I can help. Remember that the 2019 you does NOT define the 2020 you. You are not a victim of your past. You can choose a new path. Here are the next three suggestions that we can start with together…

It helps first of all to:

  • Discover your Biblical Personality Strengths (There’s many secular options, but Leading From Your Strengths is Biblical and other-centered, and the very best in my opinion. I’ve used it for more than ten years very successfully with my clients and friends.)
  • Then, discover your Spiritual Gifts.
  • Then, let’s figure out together how to help you work with God to be the best you that you can be in 2020.

God bless you bunches!

Until Next Time,

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


The New Year Cometh

The New Year Cometh

Fresh new starts

To me, it always feels like a fresh new start. And this December 31 ends one decade and the next day begins a new decade. So it is even more special than usual! We go from the 2010’s to the 2020’s. That seems BIG! And it should make a difference in more than a calendar-page-turning event.

High points

Let’s both take a few minutes here to think back over the last decade. What were the high points? For me, when 2010 rolled in, I had just officially become self-employed, as a Christian Life Coach. That is really BIG!! What about you? Big or small, what are the high points for you? Write them down. Think it through. You will be really glad you did. You will discover that God has been active in your life in ways you had forgotten.

Changes

For me, it has been a refreshing change from the cubicle job in the huge open room with lots of other people. It was a debt collecting place. Undoubtedly, not a good “fit” for this introvert with the spiritual gift of encouragement. I was miserable there for 5 years. Grateful for a job, but miserable.

Freedom

And now, I have the freedom to create my own schedule. I work from home. So the introvert part of me is very happy. I get to encourage people every day now, rather than making them mad by working for the company that had the sole goal of collecting their debt. Now, I have no time clock to punch in and out for the long days with 2 short breaks and the 1/2 hour lunch break. Now, I am FREE to freely use my spiritual gifts to ENCOURAGE people to be all God created them to be. Encouraging them to embrace their lives with joy and expectation. Doesn’t that sound good to you? I am daily blessed with amazing people that God has sent to me.

Magnificat

As I write this now, it is still 2019 and Christmas is on the horizon, so I am reminded of Mary’s Magnificat.

Luke 1:46-49

“And Mary said ‘My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond slave…for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is His name…'”

Joy and expectation

I am filled with joy and expectation as I await the next decade, knowing that God will continue to send me the people HE wants me to encourage and mentor AND also hoping—for me—that my time as a student at Christian Book Academy will be fruitful and that many of my writing creations will be published and bear fruit in people’s lives.

What about you?

What are you rejoicing about from the decade between 2010 and 2020? What new thing do you hope 2020 begins for you? Do you have plans to grow as a person? Would you like to explore Christian Coaching to see what God can do as you discover more about your own personality strengths and spiritual gifts and even the way God wired you personally to be drawn into worship of Him? We can do all of that for you, together.

The dawning of a new decade cometh

Wouldn’t you love to keep on learning and to discover ways to live “outside the box” where you safely continue the same ‘ole, same ‘ole. Wouldn’t you like to explore something new and different than what has “always been” for you? Wouldn’t you love to have your own advocate to help you discover and embrace and live your strengths, and realize your full potential?

Let’s chat a bit and pray together about what the next decade holds for you! You don’t have to do this life alone! I promise to be your biggest cheerleader, cheering you on to “what if I…?” This 2020’s decade could be your best decade ever!

God bless you bunches!

Until Next Time,

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


A Willing Heart

A Willing Heart

Mary, Mother of Jesus

“We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”

–1 Thessalonians 2:4

Mary’s life never robbed Jesus of His glory.

Her mission was to witness the Glory of the Son of God. She was a woman of courage and character. A poor girl in an insignificant town, from a humble family with little expectation her life would be different than most. Then, angel Gabriel came to Mary. (see Luke 1:38)

Why did God choose Mary?

I’ve been studying the Scriptures about Mary the last few days. And with my knowledge of the Leading From Your Strengths characteristic & personality strengths, I think I know WHY God deliberately chose this Golden Retriever type of personality, because of the particular situations she would need to endure in her adventure as the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Seeking approval

Mary sought approval from the One that matters most. Seeking God’s approval means turning FROM the desire for the applause of others. She went against social and cultural norms. She trusted God would not let her down. As she yielded to the purposes of God in and through her, she was able to anticipate the approval of the One who matters most without fear of public outcry or condemnation.

Mary surrendered to God’s plan

She was able through the power of the Spirit, by CHOOSING to be willing to lose all that defined her,  in order to become who God had CHOSEN her to be. He wants that for all of us.

What can we learn from Mary?

I’m not a scholar, and I’m not Jewish, but, I believe that when Mary, an innocent VIRGIN, courageously told Joseph, her beloved betrothed love of her life, that she was pregnant,  she knew that he KNEW it was not HIS baby she was carrying. The penalty for adulterous betrayal was death by stoning. BOTH their lives actually were in peril in that culture.

She gave her life & reputation to God

When angel Gabriel gave Mary God’s message, Mary answered, “May it be to me as you have said” (See Luke 1).  She had responded with a willing heart, ready to do whatever the Lord asked of her. Praise God for her response, which played a part in the blessing you and I have in Jesus.” (Anchor Devo December 2019)

The angel called her highly favored

He said to her, “Do not be afraid.” Angels aren’t sweet & pretty with flowing robes that flutter into your life to bless you. Rather, they are fierce looking warriors. Why else would their first words (whenever they appear to people) are some variation of FEAR NOT.

So you might think Mary was different than you or me

You might think you could never do what she did, yet I’m pretty certain that you would obey whatever an angel told you YOU to do, too. Her first response was a question, asking how it could be that she would bear the Christ Child, since she was a virgin. (Luke 1:34) And she most certainly had intended to stay that way before her marriage with Joseph. He also told her that her barren Aunt Elizabeth was now “with child”. Her next response was one of surrender and trust.  With a willing heart, accepting the consequences. “I am your servant. May it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) The angel left her.

Aunt Elizabeth is 6 months along

Mary went to see her aunt Elizabeth. Upon hearing Mary’s greeting, baby John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb. And Elizabeth gave Mary an important affirmation. Any Golden Retriever personality’s indecision or concern would have melted away when Elizabeth said, “Why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me.” (Luke 1:43) Mary stayed 3 months, until John was about to be born. Golden Retrievers are people people. They are loyal. They are “let’s do this together” people.

Fear

Goldens greatest fear is loss of security and they don’t like change. From others, they want sincere appreciation and harmony. When stressed, Goldens can be indecisive and unenthusiastic, so you can see why God gave her so many clear affirmations. God knew she would need them in all the future trials and testings she would endure.

So, as each affirmation came,

“Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

  • The Angel Gabriel’s visitation to Mary to tell her of God’s plan and to tell her not to fear
  • The Angel also spoke to Joseph to tell him that Mary was still a virgin and that he also was chosen to marry Mary and to care for her and Jesus
  • The Shepherds in the stable immediately after His birth
  • Both Simeon and Anna affirmed who He was, when Jesus was taken to the temple for his purification
  • The Wise Men when he was a bit older and in the house with his parents

Courage

She had been told that she was the woman with whom God entrusted His Son. Her heart had responded with praise and joyous song (see the Magnificat in Luke 2).

As we think about her courage, let’s think about the the time she rebuked her 12 year old son (JESUS) for staying behind in the temple. Think about the wedding in Cana where adult JESUS did his first (and non-public) miracle. She had courageously pressed Him to make water into wine. Think of the time that Mary took her other children to try to get JESUS to come home because there was so much demand on Him. She was concerned about him. Because she truly cared about the people in her sphere of influence. Let’s look at some general Golden Retriever characteristics and see if they fit Mary’s personality characteristics based on what we know from Scripture about this amazing woman:

  • Patient & Willing
  • Caring & Thoughtful
  • Steadiness
  • People person
  • Let’s do this together
  • Loyal & Nurturing
  • Tolerant
  • Slower Starting
  • Quiet & Reserved
  • Other-centered

Golden Retriever personality types deal in the PRESENT.

Their focus is on what is happening right now in front of them. You can definitely see that in Mary. When someone is hurting and needing a friend, or water made into wine at a wedding, the Golden Retriever is joyfully there! They have a caring heart and listen carefully and attentively to others (including angels 🙂 ). They are always loyal and faithful to friends and family. However, if there is tension, they want to withdraw.

Mary’s willing heart

Mary was a person of discipleship, with a willing heart, and great faith. The first true follower of Jesus. Her calling was great joy in motherhood, but required tremendous suffering. The worst was watching her son on the Cross in such unspeakable agony–knowing He had come to do just that. For you. For me. And for Mary. She knew how costly her submission would be, yet she CHOSE to SUBMIT to GOD’S plan. For that, we can ALL be grateful!

God bless you bunches!

Until Next Time,

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


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