Category Archives: Enlightenment

Stop Striving!

I got up this moring just like I always do and went outside, sat down and began to sip my cup of coffee. I opened up my Bible and began to read and the first two words grabbbed me and stopped me in my tracks: “STOP STRIVING!”

It was one of those gut punches that you’re not expecting. I thought to myself: “I didn’t know I was???” I thought I had got off that train a long time ago. The reality for most of us, is that even when we are striving not to strive, we are still striving.

God was reminding me with His simple and beautiful word that I was created for so much more than striving. Striving is my living way below my created level of blessing and growth, while trying to live some imaginary place, I was never created for.

The Scripture comes from Psalms 46:10 and says: “Stop striving and know that I am God; I will be exaltede among the nations, I will be exalted on the earth.”

What is the point of my striving? It changes nothing. I can strive or not strive and it does not change the reality that God is God and I’m not Him. My striving is really an indication that I don’t know Him as well as I may like to think I do???

God is going to be exalted, lifted up, given the attention He deserves and nothing is ever going to change that. God does not need me. He does not need me to do anything for Him. God just simply wants me to enjoy my relationship with Him and all that He brings to this amazing gift called life.

C’mon be honest! What good has all your striving, worrying, planning gotten you? Just stop it all and start enjoying life, it really is that simple. This life is God’s gift to you and what you do with it is your gift to God. Just live it, enjoy it, grow in it and God automatically gets the glory!

What’s In A Name?

My name is Michael Joe Harvell and I can’t think of a better name for myself.

One of my favorite country music singers is Johnny Cash and one of my favorite songs he sings is “A Boy Named Sue!” It’s a song all about a fatherless young man, whose father had named him Sue just before the father decided to disappear out of his life and into nowhere. The boy grew up hard, was made fun of, because of his name and had to get tough to survive. One day, he was sitting in a bar and met his Dad, the man who named him Sue. A fight ensued and son got the best of his Dad. The Dad said: “Before you kill me, let me tell you why I named you Sue!” “It was because I knew life was hard and tough and you were going to have to be to, if you were going to survive.”

Some times I wonder is the name making me or am I making the name and most days, I figure, it is probaby a little bit of both???

So let me share with you the story of how I got the name Michael Joe Harvell: I was born May 9, 1968. My parents could not agree on a name for me. My biological Dad wanted to name me: Ralph Maxwell Hiott III after himself and his Dad. My Mom wanted to name me Harry James Hiott; Harry after her favorite uncle and James after her Father. Neither would agree with the other on the name, so one day my biological Dad came to her with the idea of naming me “Michael Joe Hiott”, Michael after him, everyone called him Mike (I have no idea why?) And Joe after her, because her name was Martha Jo. So that became my name and a few years later, after a divorce, My Mom would remarry and the man she married would choose to adopt me, become my Dad and my last name would change to Harvell.

I have always felt I fit my name and my name fits me. I sometimes think that had I been named Ralph Maxwell Hiott III, I probably would have been a book worm, bratty and entitled. Had I been named Harry James Hiott, then I probably would have become a drugged up musician, looking for my next gig. Instead I was named Michael Joe and I really do feel like it’s who I am…

Michael in the Hebrew language means “One Who Is Like The Lord” and Joe in the American Dictionary means “An Average American”. I’ve always said this combination of names is my testimony in a nutshell: I am an average american, who is trying to be like the Lord…

So, I have enjoyed growing into being Michael Joe Harvell and have been blessed with a pretty amazing life, which I’m still living, learning and loving everyday…

Conviction Over Condemnation!

There is a big difference between condemnation and conviction. Condemnation is a work of the flesh, while conviction is a work of the Spirit. I spent years trapped in condemnation, while conviction was doing it’s best to try and set me free.

When I woke up this morning, I was thinking about CONDEMNATION. We are so quick to throw it around and many of us use it as a tool to try to beat ourselves or others into submission, only to find that it ultimately does more harm than good.

The truth is: It gets easy to play the blame game, because almost everyone does it. And the more we all do it, the easier it gets. As long as I am blaming someone or something else, then I don’t have to deal with my stuff. The problem with not dealing with my stuff, is that my grave just gets dug a little bit deeper.

In Romans 8:1, the scriptures declare: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…”

The key to that verse after the no condemnation part is being “IN” Christ Jesus. Condemnation is the work of the enemy, but God uses it to teach us that we are not living up to our created potential. Don’t get stuck there, learn your lesson and move on to the beautiful life you were created for. Oh and by the way – don’t get stuck in condemning others either, because that will cause you to miss your blessing too.

The reason we should choose conviction over condemnation is because conviction shows us what we are doing wrong and encourages us to do it right. It’s all about going up to a higher level of living and this is what we were all created for – growth into a blessed person, who shares their blessing with others for God’s glory… 🙏🏻