How Well Do You Steward God’s Money?

Part 2 of 3-Part Series

In God’s Money, Whose Money Is It? the case was made that all money is God’s money. If true, you don’t own money and possessions; instead, you have full responsibility for their stewardship. What grade would you give your money stewardship? How satisfied are you with your money decisions and behaviors?

Ask God what He would have you do with your money and possessions.

Stewarding God’s money is a life-calling and managing it requires intentional and prayerful daily decisions and actions. If you’re looking for some help, identify those areas you’re doing well and those that could use some improvement. Grade your agreement with the following questions on a scale of 1-10, with 1 as highly disagree and 10 as highly agree.

  • My personal value and self-worth/identity increases with the more money I make or have.
  • When I think about prosperity, I think of money.
  • I enjoy showing off the things that I have.
  • I worry and have anxiety about having enough money.
  • I feel that I don’t have enough money.
  • I consider myself an independent person.

The higher your score in these first 6 questions, the more risk you have that your mindset is not aligned with God’s. Continue with these next 6 questions using the same grade scale.

  • I have learned to live on what I make. I am debt free.
  • I am comfortable living on less so that others could have more.
  • I give when the receiver has no ability to repay me in any way.
  • I share the Gospel when I give of my money. I tie my giving with the blessing of the Good News.
  • I prayerfully seek God’s counsel in how to serve and give of my resources
  • I walk in my God-give purpose

Materialism is money-centered, not God-centered. It loves things and uses people.

The higher your score in this second set of “behavior” questions, the more likely you’ll be aligned with storing treasures in heaven and not earth. Kingdom currency is the only currency in heaven: not US dollars, Euros, or Bitcoin. Downsizing your earthly Kingdom is required to upsize the eternal Kingdom. Those who steward God’s money well are those who can live on nothing as well as everything.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to find their purpose, be the heroes of their own life stories, and help them be a shining light in this spiritually dark world. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as you coach by reaching out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com

Your Money? God’s Money? Whose Money Is It?

Part 1 of 3-Part Series

Religion, politics, sex, and money are topics many people feel uncomfortable discussing. Conversations may get more difficult, even polarized when mixed, such as Christians and their money. Discussing money can become so anxiety-ridden that some pastors quake in their shoes when asked to preach on the tithe. Perhaps Jesus talked about money in 11 of the 39 parables and it’s referenced in some way in one out of seven verses because we need to hear the Godly worldview that fights against those who’ve turned money into an idol.

As a Christian who lives in the United States, I confidently estimate that I have more money than most Christians around the world. I say that, because I’ve walked the neighborhood slums in Africa, Latin America, and South America, conversing with my brothers and sisters in Christ. When I see the material poverty, I thank God for what I have and feel a heavy burden to use my resources to facilitate the Kingdom on earth.

Every Christian has a relationship with money? Every Christian should have a personal relationship with God. Every Christian should be asking themselves, “How does God want me to use the money I have for Kingdom work?”

Your Money?

How do you refer to money? Is it your money? God’s money? Or somewhere in between? I know many Christians who say that the money they earn is 90% theirs and the tithe is God’s. On top of that there’s debate whether the 10% is before or after taxes and whether a tithe is for the church or can be portioned out for God’s ministry. The pulpit then encourages Christians to pray whether they should give more than the tithe for special gifts.

Some Christians, who don’t want to give of their money, have convinced themselves that tithing doesn’t apply today. The New Testament doesn’t talk about the tithe and was a law of the Old Testament. The new has made the old null and void. Christians have all kinds of excuses not to tithe: they can’t afford it, they don’t have a church home to give it, and they give of their time instead. What they’re ultimately saying is that it’s their money, and they’ll decide how to spend it or give it away. Many Christians’ relationship with money has become so distorted that even when they marry and “…they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Mark 10:8 NIV), spouses still separately control the money they earn.

God’s Money?

God made man, man made money, so the argument can be made that all money is God’s money. God owns all that man has created on earth. Money itself is not evil, but God is concerned with the relationship that man has with his money. Based on how people handle their money and are consumed with thoughts about it, money has become an idol for many and a priority above a relationship with God. It is the LOVE OF MONEY, not money itself, that separates us from God. Money is only a tool and not evil in itself.

If it was your money, you’d be able to take it with you when you leave this earth, but you can’t. One day money will be useless to you. When you put your relationship with God first, there’s no way you couldn’t believe that all money is God’s and want to pray in how to use it for His glory.

All money has to be God’s money, because if you don’t view it as such, you’ll think your wealth was of your own doing and perhaps you’d internalize that you’re a bit god-like in your own right. You’d might also believe that those who didn’t have money were less than or not deserving. Do you think even a little less of people who live in material poverty? Some of the poorest Christians I’ve met had the closest relationship with God, because they had to rely on God for their provision.

God tests us in how we handle money to determine our trustworthiness in dealing with others. You’re just the steward of His money while you live on earth. You’ll be judged in your faithfulness, industrialness, and wisdom of money invested in God’s Kingdom. Because it is God’s money: “Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you” (Deuteronomy 16:17, NLT).

Whose Money Is It?

What’s your relationship with money? Most Christians never examine their relationship with money, perhaps out of ignorance or fear in dealing with the big question. What’s your reason? Whichever it is, it’s in the past. Step into the future and start to ask yourself the tough question, because I can guarantee you that no one else is going to ask you.

Where will God fit into the picture? God wants to be above your money. Your relationship with money can put a level of separation with God. Once you decide that this is God’s money and you’re just a steward of it while on earth, your whole worldview will change and for the better. You will have freedom in spirit in ways you could never imagine.

There’s a difference between ownership and stewardship. You are a trustee of God’s living trust. How are you managing God’s money for the Kingdom? In some ways your money stewardship should be your life calling. If you’re committed to stewarding money God’s way, stay tuned for Part 2.

Scriptures to Pray On

“A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord” (Leviticus 27:30, NIV)

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10, NIV)

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5, NLT)

Those who love money will never have enough. How meaningless to think that wealth brings true happiness (Ecclesiastes 5:10, NLT)

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:19-21, NLT)

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops (Proverbs 3:9, NLT)

Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you (Deuteronomy 16:17, NLT)


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

How I Forgave and Found Freedom

Part 3 of 3-Part Series

Why Forgive and How to Forgive provide the foundation to build our stories of forgiveness. My prayer for you is that you find peace in your self-gift of forgiveness toward another person regardless of how severe the sin. I know people who have horrendous stories that include mutilation, sex abuse, abandonment, and even murder. Although my own personal history touches on some of these and the process of forgiveness, I share my story of freedom that started in November 2010, when I met my current husband over breakfast after his mother connected us through Match.com. That, in itself, is its own crazy God story.

My Story

Darin and I became fast friends, keeping it friendly, after I learned over our first breakfast that he was separated, living on his own, and a few months from finalizing his divorce. He had two daughters, one 19 years who was already away at college and the other, 13-year old Sarah*, who primarily lived with her mother.

We kept a low public profile in friendship, even when the relationship eventually turned to dating. Unfortunately, Darin’s ex-wife struggled with mental health issues which spilled over into her sharing raging falsehoods about Darin and me to Sarah and anyone else who would listen. Darin was forced to create two separate lives in order to enjoy the company of two important women in his life. Well after the divorce Sarah still refused to meet me.

Darin continually encouraged Sarah to meet me since he knew at some point our courtship would lead to marriage. She in return refused with no explanation. Darin’s bribery and cajoling had no influence in changing Sarah’s mind. I occasionally wrote letters of encouragement and among other points let her know she was always welcome. I didn’t want her to feel reluctant in reaching out in the future, because she felt embarrassed by her past behavior.

Eventually, I accepted Jesus as my personal savior, and Darin and I believed God brought us together for Kingdom work on earth. Our relationship strengthened in love and mission while Sarah continued to dig in her heels—refusing to meet me. As time passed, I can honestly admit I increasingly felt frustrated and disrespected as well as developed ill feelings toward Sarah as well as her mother who had contributed in creating this sour situation.

After 2 years, Darin told Sarah he was going to propose marriage by the next time she saw him. At the time Darin didn’t know that this would be the last day Sarah chose to see her father for several years. I felt more hurt and disrespected which was magnified by the pain I saw in Darin as he struggled with his daughter’s choice. It’s been 10 years since Darin and I met, and I have yet to have a conversation with Sarah.

By the eighth year, I was angry at Sarah—to the point that I hoped she never took me up on my open-door offer. My heart was hardened, I didn’t feel generous in spirit, and I admit that unforgiveness got a foothold. I didn’t wish her harm in any way, but neither did I wish good things for her. That was the ugly truth. My natural heart is always wanting the best for people—afterall, that’s why I became a life coach. I didn’t like the way my unforgiving thoughts made me feel about myself.

My Story – The Act of Forgiveness

I knew that I had to forgive Sarah—not that she was asking for it—but so I could be free of these negative feelings toward Sarah. I know how hard it is. Half of me was feeling hurt and justified based on how Sarah was treating me. The other half of me knew that my feelings were clashing with my Christian values and putting a degree of separation with God. I knew forgiving Sarah was 100% within my control, independent of what Sarah did or didn’t do, and was a gift to myself—albeit a hard gift to receive.

I sat quietly with God, asking Him to help me with a forgiving mindset and confessing my sin of unforgiveness. I forgave Sarah for any ill-will, attitude, and behaviors toward me. “I forgive you, Sarah, for … I pray that God blesses you by …” [details intentionally omitted]. I kept repeating the words aloud, giving the words power. The more I forgave Sarah, the more peace I found. I had to repeat my words over and over to push out the demonic influences.

We live in a fallen world, so the Devil will continue to plant seeds that disconnect us from people with unforgiveness and thus causing greater separation with God. I admit that as time moves forward and nothing changes with Sarah, there’s a propensity for negative thoughts to slowly creep in. When they do, I immediately turn toward God and give it back to him. That’s how I keep my freedom in forgiveness. When I go to Jesus, give it to Him, and ask him to replace it, He does. Thank you, Jesus.

Who Do You Need to Forgive?

Who do you need to forgive? When will you do it? I suggest you do it now. Don’t let one more minute, hour, or day go by holding onto the pain and separation from God. Ask spiritual help from the one who knows all and is always in control. Would love to hear your story of forgiveness. If you’d like to share it with someone, send me an email at shinecrossings@gmail.com.

*Named changed to protect her identity.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

How to Forgive? It’s Hard, And It’s for You

Part 2 of 3-Part Series

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18: 21-22). Wow, that’s a heavy burden. From our human perspective, it just doesn’t seem fair, does it? Someone sins against you 77 times, and Jesus tells you to forgive them every time. On the surface it might seem unreasonable, yet when Jesus commands this, He’s looking out for YOUR best interest.

Forgiveness: It’s Your Gift

When you deeply explore the “why” behind Matthew 18: 21-22, you’ll come to realize the benefit isn’t for the person receiving forgiveness but for you. Forgiveness doesn’t help the sinner; instead, it helps the one who was sinned against. When you hold onto your pain, it only hurts you. Jesus wants you to be free from the hurt, so he is commanding you to forgive as many times as is necessary so that you can be set free.

Why Forgive

Why Forgive? We forgive to be MOST like Jesus. His last and most important human act was to be the sacrificial lamb and take our sin when we stand before God in judgment. Forgiveness can be challenging, especially when those, who’ve sinned against us, won’t even ask for it. How can we more easily forgive and set ourselves free of our hurt?

Forgiveness is not dependent in any way on another person. You are 100% in control. Forgiveness is not predicated on whether someone asks for forgiveness. Your forgiveness is simply a choice that releases your pain—an intentional surrender to your own negative emotions and hurt.

Setting the Stage for Forgiveness: Your Belief System

Forgiveness comes more easily when you believe the 4 following truths:

  1. You are 100% responsible for what you think, say, and do. When you make excuses, blame, and criticize, what you’re saying is there’s something better that you’re not willing to go after. That “better” may be forgiveness.
  2. Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself and not the other person. Are there times you tell someone you forgive them, but you still feel hurt. Why? Because forgiveness is not something that you give someone, it’s something you give yourself.
  3. Forgiveness sets you free. Give yourself permission to let it go, because it doesn’t serve you a useful purpose.
  4. Forgiveness allows you to get closer to God. When you’re obedient to God’s commands, you are drawn closer to Him. You achieve a higher spiritual position than before.

Steps to Forgive Those Who Hurt You

Step 1: Align your belief system with the 4 mindset principles. Have the right mindset toward forgiveness.

Step 2: Ask God to help you maintain a forgiving mindset

Step 3: Confess your sin of unforgiveness up until that point. Yes, you are a sinner of unforgiveness.

Step 4: Speak aloud your forgiveness of the person by specifically naming the behavior, and then speak blessings over the other person who has sinned against you.

Step 5: Remind yourself that this is a journey and give yourself a pat-on-the-back that you’re moving in a positive direction

Establish Healthy Personal Boundaries

Honoring God with a spirit of forgiveness doesn’t mean that we have to continually expose ourselves to negative people and situations and a cycle of repeated forgiveness. Neither are we to shelter. We are to be in the world sharing the Gospel, and when we do, we will be exposed to those who will hurt us. Consider establishing healthy personal boundaries that help safeguard you physically, mentally, and emotionally, so you have the mind and spirit to bring Kingdom to earth.

Scriptures to Pray On

  1. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
  2. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25)
  3. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
  4. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)
  5. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37)
  6. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to sever times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Why Forgive? It’s the Hardest Thing You May Ever Do

Dear Lord, help me forgive…

Part 1 in a 3-Part Series

We live in challenging times, but this has been true for centuries. And as I often share, “No one gets a struggle-free life.” Do you feel oppressed with personal suffering or emotional pain caused by either your own actions or those of others? Simply said, “I believe you can minimize it or caste it out quickly after you feel it.” The secret lies in forgiveness—yes, a difficult task for most people.  

Ten years after professing my belief in Jesus as my personal savior and the Holy Spirit setting up camp in my heart, I have been on an incredible life journey where God has brought me some insights on how to manage the mudslinging and pain that come each day by living on this earth. This 3-part series explores forgiveness: why forgiveness is important, how to forgive, and then my own personal testimony of forgiveness and its impact on my life.

You Are Not Alone

Do you sometimes feel like one of the walking wounded? Do you feel weighed down with feelings of hurt? The answer lies with not just having a belief in Jesus but also tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit—a gift that comes with your salvation. Jesus gave us a friend in the Holy Spirit while we live on earth, until we sit in judgment before God, and Jesus steps in and says to the Father, “I take the sin on behalf of my brother [or sister] who stands before you.” 

How You Can Be MOST Like Jesus

When Jesus truly dwells in your heart, you’ll be inspired to be like Jesus. The Bible gives us testimony and insights into what it looks like to be like Jesus. Have you studied Jesus’s ultimate act and what it means for us still living an earthly life?

On some level it’s hard to imagine that God would send His only Son to earth to be brutally tortured and crucified, so He could take the sin away from all who profess in Him as their personal savior. Jesus’s final act was both the symbol and powerful truth of FORGIVENESS of sin when Christians stand in God’s judgment. If you want to be MOST like Jesus, you must forgive others as God forgives you through the power of Jesus Christ; otherwise, you just don’t get Jesus at the heart level and what He did for you.

Your Forgiveness and Jesus

Forgiveness is so important that Jesus commands us to do it more than 77 times if necessary (Matthew 18:21-22). Scripture also implies that what stands between us and God is our sin and lack of forgiveness (Matthew 6:15). Consider Jesus’s last words spoken before it died and went to heaven, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). When Jesus could have said anything to the crowd or the Father, He chose those words. Will you follow in his footsteps?

What unforgiveness are you holding onto? Who do you need to forgive? Let Jesus stand before our Maker on judgment day and slide the forgiveness card in front of God and say, “I take his [her] sin. I paid the price.”

Give me Jesus…

Pray Upon These Forgiveness Scriptures

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:21-22)

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (Mark 11:25)

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” (Psalm 32:1)

But if you do not forgive others that sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:15)

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

Part 2 will give you insights on how you can forgive when it’s difficult


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life story. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Jezebel, Jezebel: Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are

peter-forster-ouVAsbiwzlo-unsplash“Olly olly oxen free, Jezebel and Leviathan.” The game is over. We know who you are and what you do. You are the thieves that “come only to steal and kill and destroy…” (John 10:10) relationships, personal identities, and livelihoods. We are calling you out and banishing you to join the other unholy spirits in your hometown of hell.

You may be saying, “Wow, what’s that all about?” As I work with individuals and couples, there at times when I see the spirits of Jezebel and Leviathan working feverishly to create fear and wreak havoc in marriages. Jezebel, Leviathan, or both as partners manifest in people’s worldviews, choices, and behaviors in similar ways. Jezebel is the control freak and manipulator. Leviathan is the great relationship divider—creating separation from God and others and rejoicing in conflict and contention. Together they show up as the narcissist.

robert-nyman--ysyCHixMHU-unsplashDo you have a feeling or inkling that these spirits may have any influence in your life today? If so, don’t feel ashamed, embarrassed, guilty, or even beat yourself up. These spirits are invited into a child’s life at an early age based on your parents’ behavior. When a child doesn’t feel loved, lives in fear, has his/her heart broken, and lacks a sense of security or protection, the anger and bitterness open a portal for the spirits to enter and take up residence in the child’s mind.

Were you physically, emotionally, or verbally abused in childhood? If so, you could be suffering from the influence or torment of a spirit. Unfortunately, adults who’ve been living with the Jezebel/Leviathan spirit may not be able to discern the spirits, because the spirits have a stronghold on their mind. Evidence of the spirits will be in the lack of “fruit” in a person’s life. Do you have difficulty reading the Bible without falling asleep? What is the condition of your marriage and relationships with children and colleagues. Would your friends truly be there in times of need, or do you call them “friends” because of what you can take from each other?

Jezebel is the number reason for divorce. This spirit will cause a spouse to be selfish, controlling, and abdicate any responsibility. The blame will always reside with the other spouse. Does this sound familiar?

freestocks-yB2TGLr-rVo-unsplashAre you tired of failed relationships, torment, misery, anxiety, and conflict? If you believe you’ve got a spirit influence, the only way to rid yourself of them is to forgive and repent. You and Jesus hold the power to bind and caste out the devil.

You must pray a prayer to free yourself from the spirits. You can learn more by visiting www.restoredtofreedom.com. If you’re interested in repairing or improving your marriage with sound Biblical counseling and marriage tools, get the help you need by reaching out for virtual sessions at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or 281.793.3741.

Reference

Schuman, N.L. (2018). Restored to Freedom: The Road to Deliverance from the Enemy’s Finest.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Your Core Values: Expressed through the Eyes of Jesus

matt-botsford-bBNabN9R_ac-unsplashI have two questions for you? The second we’ll get to later. The first is: what are your core values? How would you describe them in action in your life?

With a foot in the secular life coaching world and another in the ministry of Jesus, I hold some unique perspectives. The more I work with people, we invariably touch upon their core values and how these values shape their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. If you’d ask me what my top five core values are, I’d have to say service, leadership, authenticity, love, and obedience.

You might say, “Sounds like a good list,” and you’d leave it at that. Afterall, these are my core values. You’re likely more interested in exploring your core values. I say, “Do it,” and encourage you to describe what your core values look like through the worldview of Jesus. My second question: how did Jesus embody your core values as he lived his short life on earth?

You are uniquely made by God, and He instilled a unique combination of core values that are rooted deep inside you. Think of an apple with its core full of seeds. The skin and flesh of the apple is you, and the seeds at the center are your core values. Your life sprouts and grows out of your core values.

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I can see the beauty and appreciate my core values even more, when I see how Jesus lived them out as described through the Bible.

  • Service: Jesus was the ultimate servant by healing the sick, feeding the masses, and bringing the dead to life. During the last supper and their protests, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, even Judas, whom He knew would betray him.
  • Leadership: The only litmus test of a leader is whether he has followers. The Bible is full of stories where the crowds flocked to Jesus, yet ultimately his leadership is revealed in his ability to convince a small tribe, his 12 disciples, to give up their lives to follow him and become fishers of men.
  • Authenticity: Jesus was the poster child who exemplified authenticity. How many times did he unabashedly tell stories and speak truth that countered the prevailing thoughts of the Jewish culture and Pharisee leaders? He always spoke truth regardless of its repercussions or how it fit in with conventional culture.
  • Love: Jesus embodied love with encouragement, discipline, and teaching. He knew everyone’s heart and still accepted them. Jesus had the longest recorded one-on-one conversation recorded by the Gospel writers with the Samaritan woman at the well. Who was she? The lowest ethnic and gender class shunned by her community for immoral sexual behavior. Jesus loves when others don’t or won’t.
  • Obedience: Jesus embodied obedience when he knowingly sacrificed himself on the cross for humanity’s sin and for our salvation. That was the ultimate act of obedience to God’s plan. Amen!

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What is your favorite Scripture that embodies your core values? Here are mine:

  • Service: John 15:12: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
  • Leadership: 1 Peter 5:3: Not domineering over those in your charge but being example to the flock.
  • Authenticity: Ephesians 4:15: Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.
  • Love: Galatians 5:14: For the whole law is fulfilled in the statement: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • Obedience: 1 John 2:6: And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

My prayer is that you’ll spend time identifying your top core values and thinking how Jesus embodied them. Through this self-reflection, you’ll hopefully realize how much you and Jesus have in common.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and ministry. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches individuals, teams, and businesses. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Revelation: Which Church Do You Attend?

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Months into living with COVID, many Christians are reading Revelation. Are we headed into End Times? Will we be the generations that live through the final book of the Bible? As I read Revelation and specifically the letters that were written to the seven churches, I couldn’t help but ask myself: what church am I attending and which church best reflects my current faith journey.

The seven letters provide both commendations and rebukes for each church and encouragement for action.

Churches

Is there a church today that is Philadelphia? If so, I don’t think I’ve come across it. I’ve attended or been a member of churches such as Ephesus, which did the hard work but missed the big picture—a personal relationship with Jesus. They were the Martha when they should have been the Mary (Luke 10:38 – 42).

Many churches are proud of their good works but compromise God’s Word. I’ve also been to churches such as Sardis who were effective but superficial. Since authenticity is one of my core values, these churches cause me the most pain. When you truly reflect on your home church, where does it lay on the continuum of superficiality?

martin-sattler-yw2UcAJ6OAU-unsplashIn this day, I see many churches that follow the pattern of Thyatria. In living out faith, love, and service, they also adopt a heavy dose of acceptance for all things liberal in the world. They have sacrificed absolute truth and adopted the mindset that we should be inclusive of everyone’s truth. Christians are not called to judge others, but they are empowered to discern God’s truth and live according to his Word. God offers absolute truth.

My desire is to become Thyatira for its commendation with no rebuke for immorality. Where are you on the continuum? What type of church do you belong or attend? Based on the church and world conditions is there a trend toward the small home church?.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a marriage coach along with her husband, Darin, who help couples across the world via seminars, workshops, and private sessions. She customizes a relationship journey tailored based on curriculums from their own content, Prepare & Enrich, SYMBIS, FOCCUS, and Marriage on the Rock. Couples design their marriage, learn tools, and then work toward achieving their vision. Learn more about the ministry or sign up for a session by contacting Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com

What Color Was Jesus?

blackjesus_smallDo you know the shortest verse in the Bible? “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). I imagine that Jesus is now shaking his head back and forth from his throne in heaven, watching the world come under one world order with the gnashing of teeth, destruction, rampant fear, and anger. Countries are merging into global communities through the events spilled forth from the COVID-19 epidemic and the death of George Floyd. Unfortunately, the behaviors of too many people have been less than virtuous: rioting, looting, destruction of property, name-calling, and even what some label as justified murder of police and bystanders.

When I posted on social media that rioting polarizes people and protesting starts the conversation, an acquaintance replied that years of black oppression warranted a few days of cathartic outrage. I guess that quite simply captures what we are feeling and seeing by many in our cities and propagated in our media.

The country has moved from the acceptance of vandalism and desecration of our historical monuments to now encouraging the destruction of all white images of Jesus, because they supposedly represent the works of white supremacy. God helps us! I want to scream, “Stop the insanity! This is ridiculous.”

Scripture states, “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created them; male and female.” (Genesis 1:27). Jesus also said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Jesus, the son of God, represents the image of God on earth for all men and women. What does this mean for us mere mortals? What does Jesus look like in appearance? He’s the image that we carry of Him in our hearts and minds. We are free to create in imagery what we believe Jesus looks like, and not surprisingly, I would bet that each person paints Jesus’ color near their own skin likeness.

I’ve traveled the world and seen Jesus portrayed in paintings, postcards, and places of worship in every shade of skin color. Am I offended by any of these portraits? Absolutely not. I’m just grateful that Jesus has a presence in that community and that people have found a personal savior in Jesus Christ.

So, what color was Jesus? Jesus was all colors. If you’re in favor of ripping white Jesus from the walls, don’t be fooled into thinking you are taring down white supremacy. Jesus was all colors to all men, including white men. Jesus was the lover of the lepers, the healer of the cripples, friends of the criminals, and champions of the outcast. When you defile white Jesus, you are dishonoring what Jesus stands for: love, kindness, compassion, humility, and justice. When you desecrate Jesus in any color, your behaviors ultimately reflect religious bigotry.

For Christians who carry Jesus in their hearts, I believe it hurts us deeply to see our personal savior desecrated, defiled, and pulled off the cross. I can only imagine that we’re getting a small taste of what Jesus experienced during his many hours of crucifixion. Imagine the pain he experienced as he took on the burdens, sufferings, and sins of mankind. He suffered deeply, and we, as Christians, are now suffering. What shall we do with this pain?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a marriage coach along with her husband, Darin, who help couples across the world via seminars, workshops, and private sessions. She customizes a relationship journey tailored based on curriculum from their own content, Prepare & Enrich, SYMBIS, FOCCUS, and Marriage on the Rock. Couples design their marriage, learn tools, and then work toward achieving their vision. Learn more about the ministry or sign up for a session by contacting Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com

Why a Daughter Needs a Dad

limor-zellermayer-qHYC8ajXLB0-unsplashToday is Father’s Day: the perfect time to reflect on why a daughter needs a dad. I didn’t have a dad in my life from 6 to 12 years of age. My stepdad came onto the family scene when I was 13 and played the role of dad during my teenage years. As a single man with no children of his own, he did the best he could as a father figure. I’m grateful for the love and kindness she showed my brother and me through our formative years.

Sons and daughters need and learn different things from each biological parent. A daughter needs a dad to …

  • give her hugs and kisses
  • provide a safe home
  • help her to learn from her mistakes
  • teach her to believe that she deserves to be treated well
  • teach her to make wise decisions
  • tell her truthfully that is she is beautiful inside and out
  • protect her from the boogie man
  • be a soft place to land
  • make her feel that she is unconditionally loved
  • teach her the standard by which she should judge men
  • teach her values and the importance of family
  • be one of her heroes
  • protect her when she’s not wise enough yet to protect herself
  • help her take risks so she can build self-confidence while not saving her from the consequences of her own decisions
  • teach her the difference between selfish and selfless
  • prepare her for hardships of life [no one gets a struggle-free life]
  • create a positive legacy for her family and the generations to come
  • show her that a man’s strength is in the kindness of his heart and not the anger in his voice
  • give her gentle pushes to help her grow
  • provide guidance when she has to resolve her own troubles
  • teach her the joy of serving others
  • calm her when she is stressed by her challenges
  • teach her how things work and show her how to fix things for herself
  • teach her to experiment and challenge her own assumptions
  • tell her what she needs to know about boys and how to recognize a gentleman
  • stand with her on her wedding day
  • model a good husband and father

If you’re a daughter, which handful of needs do you cherish the most in a dad? Would you add any to the list? As I look back on my life, the three needs I wanted fulfilled were:

  • teach her the standard by which she should judge men
  • a soft place to land
  • be one of her heroes

One of my favorite sayings: “No one gets a struggle-free life.” Although I didn’t have the ideal daddy-daughter relationship, I hope that any father reading this will pause, reflect, and choose to try and fulfill these needs in his daughter’s life. It’s never too late to start.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a marriage coach along with her husband, Darin, who help couples across the world via seminars, workshops, and private sessions. She customizes a relationship journey tailored based on curriculums from their own content, Prepare & Enrich, SYMBIS, FOCCUS, and Marriage on the Rock. Couples design their marriage, learn tools, and then work toward achieving their vision. Learn more about the ministry or sign up for a session by contacting Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com