We all have a message to speak.

Through our individual gifts and talents
we long to convey what God has put on our hearts to say,
in the manner which we are gifted.

I believe I share a seat with many who consider the opinions of others thru their comments, Likes and Shares.

facebook likefacebook share

 I believe I share a crowded stage with many who hear the applause as an evaluation of their performance.

applause o meter

 Whether it’s sales, blog views, followers, customers, attendance, YouTube views, Likes, comments or Shares, etc., we could celebrate empty success or face crushing defeat if we hinged our efforts and validation from the opinions of others.

I wonder how many give up based on a negative tally of these opinions?

Listening to Christian Author and Speaker Joyce Meyers,  she stated a profound message from God regarding opinions:

“Stop Counting”

God told Joyce to “Stop counting the meeting attendance, the emails, the telephone calls, etc.”

 These tallies are just opinions of others.

Our gifts, our talents, our callings are to glorify the one who gifted and called.
We are to please Him and Him alone.

….. I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.  John 5:30 NIV

It is in this posture of humility where true promotion comes.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
James 4:10, ESV

My Pastor of twenty-eight years exemplified:

….. I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.  John 5:30 NIV

When he reminded us many times through the years that he:
“Preached to an audience of One.”

Being called to preach, our General remained faithful to his post until the end, giving no regard to the pews and their occupancy.

My Pastor preached to an audience of One.

As my Pastor preached to the Holy One, he also went after the “one” like the shepherd Jesus talks about who left the ninety-nine for the “one” who went astray.  Luke 15:1-7.

This beloved man “went low” and went to great lengths to find the “one”, so he could love, serve and wash the feet of the “one”.  It wasn’t the crowd, the masses, the ninety-nine, but the “one”.

Pastor Ron Foot washing cropped

At our General’s funeral just a few weeks ago, not surprising the church was packed beyond capacity with just as many viewers online from around the world.

All because a man preached to an audience of One while in pursuit of the “one”.

His daughter said it best of her father:

“Over and over again I kept hearing how you loved the ONE.. the marginalized ONE, the neglected ONE, the Fatherless ONE the hurting ONE and the list goes on.”
Beth Jacobus

God moves mountains to show his love for you, the “one”.
God sent His Son to die for you, the “one”.
God will work through complete strangers to reach you, the “one”.

This message of the “one” came to light a few hot summer years ago at this historical mansion where I hosted a table for six of dear family and friends over a Victorian Tea and Luncheon.

Daisy lady gloria marge linda at table

Daisy lady candy lori at table

With one seat unspoken for to be filled by the Victorian Tea organizers and believing God wanted to use five tea ladies to bless a complete stranger, we prepared a gift bag full of thoughtfulness with her in mind; a present for the “one”.

A week prior to the Tea, God impressed a vision of this “one”, letting our eyes know in advance to be looking for a woman “dressed in daisies”.

Seated outside on the manicured lawns of the mansion, the Victorian Gala began, and hand-painted cups for each Victorian lady were filled with their chosen flavored tea.  Formally dressed waiters and waitresses placed silver trays of crumpets, delicately filled croissants and other luncheon foods on our table of china place settings and white linen.

Though the details of this elegant day were breathtaking, we five tea ladies couldn’t take our eyes off the chair still unspoken for.  Had we heard from God correctly?  Were we really supposed to meet a lady “dressed in daisies?”  We reminded God of the empty seat while letting go of our expectations, though still holding onto hope that the day was still not over.

Somewhat sad we still savored our time together, enjoying a bright and sunny afternoon over tea, seated side by side next to those that we loved.  Caught off guard when the skies darkened and released a torrential rain, the Victorian crowd made a dash towards the open doors of the mansion for the remainder of the event.

With the mansion unprepared to receive our Victorian ladies, you sat or stood in whatever corner you could find.

Daisy lady candy by herself

We Victorian ladies now soaking wet couldn’t help but laugh.

The itinerary resumed itself making the best of the unforeseen chaos.

It’s in these moments when you least expect that God’s plan comes into full view;
our lady “dressed in daisies.”

We tea ladies gasped when we saw her.
Head to toe in daisies.

We five weren’t so refined when we surrounded our daisy lady following the Tea, presenting God’s heart and a gift bag prepared with her, the “one” in mind.

Overwhelmed that God met her heart in the darkest of hours through complete strangers, our daisy lady shared she almost didn’t attend the event as her husband was hospitalized in a health crisis.  Deciding to divert her troubled heart and attention for a few hours over tea, throwing on whatever she could find, not Victorian clothes, but an outfit donned of daisies.

Such an impact God made when He loved the “one” through five willing strangers.

With God, it isn’t about the crowd, the masses, the ninety-nine, but the “one”.

When using our gifts, talents and calling for the Kingdom, it’s not about the opinions of others or pleasing of others, but about pleasing God.

….. I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.  John 5:30 NIV

But in this posture of humility true promotion comes.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
James 4:10, ESV

And besides,
“Don’t worry about other people’s opinions of you.
God never told you to impress people; only to love them.”

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Author Lori A Alicea and her beloved husband David of 29 years thank you for sharing a moment of your day with them at Apples of Gold Encouragement. It is their desire you experience their heart for family, love, encouragement and God through the words God has put on Lori’s heart to write. They are hopeful you discover a few treasures of encouragement, realizing we all share common threads in our lives. Be blessed in your day.

2 thoughts on “STOP COUNTING By Lori A Alicea”

  1. Such a beautiful tribute to our beloved Pastor and Bishop. Love the way God prompted you to watch for a lady dressed in Daisies. You had because you asked that day. It reminds me to ask everyday: “Who is the one today, Lord?” Send me to them. They usually aren’t coming to church. They are out there somewhere, throwing up a shout to God asking him: “are you real? do you care? do you notice me? is there hope for me?”
    They are hungry. The harvest is ready. We are his laborers. Seed sowers, waterers and harvesters. It’s so exciting to be his hands and feet bringing his message of hope, witnessing his Spirit touch and change lives. Lord, please give us your heart of love to keep reaching out and not sit around waiting for them to come to us. Give us your eyes to see what you see. Give us your boldness to pray prayers that break the yoke of bondage. It’s time for your church to add more stories to the Book of Acts.

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