Categories
The Invisible Ally

Surrounded by an Invisible Army: Open Your Eyes

The school bell has rung, class is not in session

Have you ever felt like your back was against the wall or that you have reached a point where you could not fight or run? I was reminded of story I read in the Book of Second Kings Chapter 6, when Elisa said,

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Let me tell you a little background of the story of a man who woke up one morning and was literally surrounded by his enemies. God’s prophet, Elisha had a great enemy in the King of Syria. The prophet Elisha had warned the King of Israel of his impending danger of attack by the King of Syria, and of continuing to sin against the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. So in the past, the King of Israel had avoided a lot of pitfalls by listening to the Prophet Elisha. One thing that was noted in Matthew Henry’s Commentary is that the King of Israel listened when it came to protecting himself from dying at the hands of the King of Syria, but did not listen to repenting of his sins against God. (Ironic right?)

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Either way, the Prophet Elisha found himself in quite a situation after giving valuable advice to Israel’s army yet again because the King of Syria decided he wanted to take him as a prisoner and told his army to collect him dead or alive.

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They were tired of Elisha listening to God and providing the King of Israel information on how to overcome their enemies. This information proved to help them win again and again, as long as they were in obedience with God’s Word. So they knew their only solution in defeated the Israelites were to rid them of their Prophet from God.

One question pondered in the commentary was, “Why did the King of Syria decide to send an entire army after one man? A man who was not hidden behind a fortress like royalty or guarded by men?” To send an entire army after a one man proves how much of a threat he was to them. So under the cloak of darkness, the Syrian army began to surround the city and wait. As the morning’s sun began to rise, so did the voice of Elisha’s servant. He exclaimed in panic and I am paraphrasing, “Master what shall we do? We cannot fight or run, we may as well just give up!”  The servant saw their enemies surrounding them with swords and spears.

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Elisha responded calmly, “Do not fear! For there are more on our side than theirs.” The servant was confused because he only saw that they were about to be destroyed by what was in front of them. Then Elisha said a quick prayer to the Lord, asking Him to open the eyes of his servant, so he could see. Suddenly the servant could see with the same enlightened eyes as Elisha and he saw that the hills surrounding the Syrian Army were not empty, but were full of horses and chariots of fire.

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As the horses and chariots of fire descended, Elisha prayed that the Syrian Army be smote with blindness and they were. He led them to a city called Samaria. Once they arrived, Elisha prayed that the Lord would allow the men to see. Once their eyes were able to see, the King of Israel asked Elisha could they kill them? Elisha said no, feed them and let them go back to their king. Once they returned to the King of Syria, they no longer bothered the Land of Israel. Elisha’s simple faith in God, reduced an unstoppable enemy to nothing.

This should be an encouragement to believers today because scripture says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrew 13:8) We do not have to feel like we are alone, or that we have to rely on our own strengths. We also do not need to only trust in what we see with our own eyes because we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesian 6:12)

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Reflecting questions: Where do we put our faith? When we encounter an enemy during our daily situations, do we react like Elisha, or do we react like his servant?

The school bell has rung, class dismissed! 

Categories
the joneses

Two Sets of Joneses

The school bell has rung, class is now in session

I was in college on my way back with friends from performing. We were in the “singing assemble group” for our college that consisted of 6 girls and 12 guys. We went around singing to churches and organizations that donated money to our university. I was in the car and this music group came on the radio. I was immediately transported back in time to the1960s, as the sound of a guitar blared and the lead singer’s voice droned on, it actually made me feel like I was at Wood Stock. *chuckle*

Jimi Hendrix and a crowd at Woodstock standing in the rain

Well, minus the “not so good” parts of Wood Stock. Sorry, I digressed from the main point. As I listened to the words of the song, it really had a deep impact on me. After the song ended, I asked my friends the title of the song. They replied, “Two Sets of Joneses.” So I decided to share the story with you all but if you choose to skip reading post, I have attached the video below for your viewing pleasure. The story begins with the two couples named, Rothchild and Evelyn Jones, and Reuben and Sue Jones.

Side note: Sorry, this was the best generalized image I could find of two couples, just use your imagination!

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Now, back to the story – Evelyn had a lot of money and Rothchild Jones was so excited because after he married her, she bought them a house on the beach. Reuben and Sue
Jones did not have earthly wealth, but they were followers of Jesus and felt that having Him was plenty because they trusted in Him to provide for them. The hook of the song described “hard times” as rain coming down and blowing the four walls down, and when the clouds rolled away; only one set of Joneses would be standing that day. So, essentially whenever hard times came, only one couple would be able to handle it. As time passed, eventually Evelyn Jones and Sue Jones were pregnant.

 

In Evelyn’s case, Rothchild worked late hours so that he could remain on top of the business, and her father was very proud and happy to have such a son-in-law. Rothchild worked so hard, that while Evelyn was having their first child, he was on an airplane flying to Dallas on business.
In Sue’s case, when she was having their first child, the entire hospital heard Reuben exclaim, “It’s a boy!” He was right by her side and even stayed home with Sue to help her take care of the baby for a few days. While he was out of work, some of his co-workers took up a collection for Reuben and it ended up being enough for the bills that month. Needless to say, Evelyn Jones ended up leaving Rothchild and sued him for everything he had.

The essential question of the story: Is your life built on the Rock of Christ Jesus or Sandy foundations that YOU have managed to lay?

Why is this important? Because when the rain comes down, and blows the four walls down, when the clouds roll away; will you be still standing or blown away? Just a thought. The video is below, enjoy 🙂

Wellness Tip: Eat more dark green vegetables. An excellent source of fiber, folate, and carotenoids. These vegetables also contain vitamins C and K and the minerals iron and calcium. In addition, dark green leafy vegetables act as antioxidants in the body.

“Every parent or guardian is homeschooling their children whether they realize it as not because their actions and words are always on display. ~Dr. Menzise

 

The school bell has rung, class dismissed

Categories
Leadership

Building Trust as a Leader – There are Two Sides to Every Story

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Remember the old adage, “There are two sides to every story?” This is a simple truth that could benefit everyone who takes the time reflect on it, especially when your own ears are being filled with a “story.”

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When I was a beginning teacher, an occurrence took place that taught me a valuable lesson. I had a principal who demanded excellence from faculty, staff and students alike. Whether the principal had known you for a long time, or if you were a new employee; the expectations were the same for every person across the board. Because of this consistent treatment to everyone, the principal gained a reputation for treating people fairly, which in return, built a foundation of trust.

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Side note – As we go through life, we will have good and bad situations to happen, and if we choose to learn, the lessons will not be in vain.

Let us return to the story. There was a veteran teacher that had been communicating behind the scenes with some of my cheerleaders about a potential way to raise money for themselves. When I became aware of what some of them were doing, I reminded the team that fundraising activities had to go through a particular process, resulting with approval from the principal before any monies could be collected. The veteran teacher, being a former coach, continued to encourage some of the girls to continue raising money for themselves. I was frustrated, so I used my first line of defense, prayer. I always pray when I feel that things are getting out of control.

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I knew if this situation continued, I would eventually have to speak to the veteran teacher one-on-one, and before doing so, wanted to make sure my heart and mind was right before God. What happened a week after the incident came as quite a shock to me. The principal ended up summoning the veteran teacher and I, to the office.

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We sat next to each other, while the principal proceeded to walk out of the room. The veteran teacher asked me if I knew what the principal could possibly want with us, and I told her no. I had only been working there three weeks and barely spoke to the principal. When the principal returned, the veteran teacher and I, were asked if we knew why we were called into the office? We both stated that we did not know the reason. The principal went on to explain that we were called in because one of my cheerleaders had been asking for money randomly, and when it was discovered that it was not a sanctioned fundraiser, the cheerleaders were brought into the office and questioned. They were also reminded of the process they had to go through in order to have a fundraiser established. I will be honest, at this point I was seething because I thought the conversation would end with me getting in trouble for putting together a fundraiser, I had nothing to do with, but I remained silent.

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Surprisingly, the principal addressed the veteran teacher, and explained to no longer advise the cheerleaders in that measure because it undermined me as the new coach. The principal went on to say that in the future when it came to fundraising ideas, to let me know because ultimately, I would be responsible the outcome.

Let me digress, we both were a little floored at this conversation, but for different reasons.

Me: I did not know the principal was aware of what had been going on and could not believe how professionally it was handle. It was not spread around the front office, or among teachers in the school. The issue was only addressed to the parties involved, and in our faces, instead of behind our backs. #Wow

Veteran Teacher: Surprised the principal knew what was going on and actually called the situation out.

Ok, let us return to the story. The veteran teacher ended up apologizing for overstepping boundaries, and I gratefully accepted because I like peace. Next, we were told that if there was not anything left to discuss, we could leave. The veteran teacher and I were a little surprised about the encounter, but left the meeting feeling good and as though we had been through something together.

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I gained more respect for the principal as a leader because that situation could have gone in another direction. If it was assumed that I was to blame for the fundraiser complaints just because I was the coach, my professional image would have been smeared in the eyes of the principal because I should have known better. I truly respect that the principal took the time to investigate and dig a little deeper to learn that I had not orchestrated the illegal fundraiser activities.

In regard to your own personal experiences, whether it is at church, work, organizations, among friends or associates; how often do you hear one side of a story, and formulate opinions based on that particular side? Why not try listening first, then consider the possible “other side” of the story before reacting? Many people form opinions about others before interacting with them, and this is a constant misfortune, because a potential benefit to you and/or your organization could be missed.

Reflection Time

  1. The next time someone tells you a story about someone or something, please take the time to remember that you are only hearing half of the story. For example – If someone only tells you about half of the movie; you will need to learn the other half of the storyline in order to formulate a true opinion of the movie.
  2. Think of the peopleyou have encountered over time, and the opinions you have formed about them. Is your opinion of them based on what others have said, or is it based on your personal experiences with them? If you have personally experienced a person, and realized they were not a positive person, then it is ok to have that opinion about them, but if the opposite is true then that could be an issue. This is an important reflection because I have seen people who were good friends, end up falling out of friendship because of half-truths spoken about the other person. For example – The friend would begin listening to others speak negatively about their good friend, and instead defending them based on their personal experience with them, they instead would begin to believe the opinions of others. This demonstrates the power of negative words once they are allowed to take root in the mind.
  3. Make the change today and remember that facts will always outweigh half-truths.

 

            Wellness Tip: Replace Junk Food. Take out all of the junk food in your cupboards at home and replace them with healthy snacks like nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” ~John 8:32

The school bell has rung, class dismissed