Monday, December 28, 2009
"I pray that...Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love." (Ephesians 3:16,17)
Christmas may be over, but Christ's Presence continues to direct my life. I came across the saying, "Don't cry because it's over---smile because it happened." That's the way I feel about Christmas. Thank God, Jesus was born and through His infinite wisdom, He has taught me that no mistake that I have ever made will separate me from His love. Not only that, but His guidance will bring about the best possible outcome to my life.
God is not limited in any way. He knows all things and can do all things. He makes all the clouds pass and gives me -life richer and fairer than I have ever before been able to imagine. I trust Him with my whole heart to handle my life and all my affairs. This gives me total peace. 2010 will be a win-win year for you and for me because our God is in control.
Have a win-win 2010! God bless. This year will be the best ever! Spread the love everywhere you go.
Light and love,
Sunday, December 6, 2009
"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans...to give you a future of hope." (Jeremiah 29:11) Yes, hope is what God gives us. Jimmy Buffet says, "It takes no more time to see the good side of life than it takes to see the bad." This Christmas season, let's receive hope in our hearts. Let's have faith throughout the season that God will continue to fill our lives with joy and gladness. When we look at the lights on our Christmas tree that symbolize the light within our own selves, we're filled with love and peace. We know our future will be bright. We know that our loved ones will be blessed. "And you will have confidence, because there is hope." (Job 11:18). Let's not be distracted from that hope by bad news in the media or the pervasive advertising that tells us what we must have to be satisfied and attractive. Remembering that "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27) is the greatest gift we could ever receive, let's savor all the sounds, smells, and sights of Christmas. God bless.
Light and love,
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
"Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive." (II Corinthians 2:10) The only thing that brings peace is forgiveness. I found that to be true this weekend.
I went to see my mom with my husband, granddaughter, and grand dog. My granddaughter's dog is a cute little pomeranian mix that has never been housebroken. We keep him outside and in the garage at night so that he doesn't make messes. He has a yip that was irritating my step father so he asked why we didn't leave the dog home. It hurt my feelings so I started to cry. That night when I went to bed, I decided that the only way to soothe my hurt feelings is through forgiveness.
I looked at the situation through my step father's eyes and saw it from his point of view. In the morning, my step father made me coffee and apologized. I was sorry too, and the whole thing was over.
Had either of us decided to hold on to resentment, it would have destroyed the peace and made everyone around us tense. Our perceptions either pull us down or lift us higher. The choice is ours. A Slovakian proverb says, "Anger is the only thing to put off till tomorrow." For today I choose to adopt an attitude of forgiveness instead of one of resentment. That is the only way to peace.
Light and love,
Friday, November 6, 2009
"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts...and be thankful." (Colossians 3:15) Tonight I realize how fortunate I am to be immersed in the love and peace of God. I am so relieved that He loves me unconditionally. I focus my thoughts on love and good.
Any decisions I have to make are not mine alone. I have God to help me have a good weekend and experience wonderful things. In the 23rd Psalm, David says, "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters; He restores my soul."
We can be grateful even in the midst of sad news. "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." In God's light, we can heal our lives.
With the relationship we have with God, we can be grateful that we have God's spirit within us. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)
Tonight I fall on my knees in amazement that in this now moment, I can let go of all anxiety and fear. As a lily in the field, I surrender to what is, and I am grateful.
Light and love,
Friday, October 30, 2009
"The world is one percent good, one percent bad, ninety-eight percent neutral. It can go one way or the other, depending on which side is pushing. This is why what individuals do is important," writes Hans Habe. What each one contributes is so important.
Last night, my husband and I went to our granddaughter's band concert and enjoyed it so much. The realization hit me that each band member has to practice individually to make such harmonious music. It's individual effort as well as group effort. I was so proud as I realized in her music she is a valued part of that band.
We are all a part of the harmony of life. We each have our individual make up in our families and in our work place, but we work together to make a collective whole that enhances the unit. I'm so grateful for our individuality, and yet so happy that we can harmonize and live together peacefully. "May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another." (Romans 15:5)
Light and love,
Friday, October 23, 2009
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)
Our maple tree is losing all its pretty red leaves. I guess it is preparing for winter and rest. Our bodies get into that rest mode too.
With Thanksgiving only a little more than a month away, it's time to reflect with gratitude our many blessings. I so appreciate the bounty of food I have in my life.
At the same time, though, I long for the trim body I had not very long ago.
Florence Shinn wrote, "The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds, and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy." My overeating is catching up to me. I've been gaining weight!
Now I am coming upon the season of plenty with my body's innate desire for rest. Wow! What to do?
Well, I received an email a couple of days ago with all the super foods I could use to restore my sense of health and well-being. This holiday season I am letting go of the of the bad habit of over-eating. Just like my maple tree, I'm going to shed what no longer serves me. Here are some healthy foods to get me back on track. This will be my gift to myself. Want to join me at God's pharmacy? This is the info I received in my email:
"A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye.... And YES, science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.
A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopine and are indeed pure heart and blood food.
Grapes hang in a cluster that has the shape of the heart. Each grape looks like a blood cell and all of the research today shows grapes are also profound heart and blood vitalizing food.
A Walnut looks like a little brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or folds on the nut are just like the neo-cortex. We now know walnuts help develop more than three (3) dozen neuron-transmitters for brain function.
Kidney Beans actually heal and help maintain kidney function and yes, they look exactly like the human kidneys.
Celery, Bok Choy, Rhubarb and many more look just like bones. These foods specifically target bone strength. Bones are 23% sodium and these foods are 23% sodium. If you don't have enough sodium in your diet, the body pulls it from the bones, thus making them weak. These foods replenish the skeletal needs of the body.
Avocadoes, Eggplant and Pears target the health and function of the womb and cervix of the female - they look just like these organs. Today's research shows that when a woman eats one avocado a week, it balances hormones, sheds unwanted birth weight, and prevents cervical cancers. And how profound is this? It takes exactly nine (9) months to grow an avocado from blossom to ripened fruit. There are over 14,000 photolytic chemical constituents of nutrition in each one of these foods (modern science has only studied and named about 141 of them).
Figs are full of seeds and hang in twos when they grow. Figs increase the mobility of male sperm and increase the numbers of Sperm as well to overcome male sterility.
Sweet Potatoes look like the pancreas and actually balance the glycemic index of diabetics.
Olives assist the health and function of the ovaries.
Oranges, Grapefruits, and other Citrus fruits look just like the mammary glands of the female and actually assist the health of the breasts and the movement of lymph in and out of the breasts.
Onions look like the body's cells. Today's research shows onions help clear waste materials from all of the body cells. They even produce tears which wash the epithelial layers of the eyes. A working companion, Garlic, also helps eliminate waste materials and dangerous free radicals from the body."
This is the kind of food I want to give my body instead of the unhealthy food I have been feeding it. What an opportunity to meet the challenge by letting God assist me in my quest for health and well-being! "My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net." (Psalms 25:15) Join me if you want, and we'll share our successes!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
"Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind." (I Peter 3:8)
What a blessing to share our compassion wisdom, love, and understanding! We bring about peace and love by letting God shine all negative thoughts away. We can let God heal all our relationships when we remember who we are.
Who are we anyway? We can be God's love made manifest. If we let God guide us, we can let go of all guilty, unloving, fearful thoughts by taking each one to the Holy Spirit and letting Him bring us back to love.
This week let us walk in gratitude and love. If a thought enters our mind that does not bring us peace, let's take it to the Holy Spirit and let His light guide us to everlasting joy.
Light and love,
Sunday, October 11, 2009
"Don't cry because it's over----smile because it happened," is a quote from a pamphlet called BITS AND PIECES.
We build our lives brick by brick. When my girls graduated high school and left home, I was alone and suffering from an "empty nest". A few years down the road I met my wonderful husband and entered a new phase of life. Around that same time, God blessed me with grandchildren so my life became very fulfilling.
Sometimes we go through changes that make us feel like we are giving up something very valuable. I know I felt this way when my daughters left home. As a single mom, those girls were my life. What I didn't realize was that God would offer me a joyous alternative. I didn't realize that I was about to meet the love of my life and experience the joy and beauty of grandchildren.
About ten months ago my oldest granddaughter came to live with us. Now I am re-living those days of school functions and having such purpose in my life. It's amazing to see God's perfect picture. He had a much better plan for my life than I could have ever dreamed. Last night my husband and I had the pleasure of watching her up on stage in a school play, and I felt like I was in such a perfect place in my life.
We just need to learn to trust God for help, support, and guidance. He will give us strength. "Be strong and courageous...for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9) Joel Osteen says God has more in store for us if we believe our best days are ahead of us. My best days are not past; they are yet to come.
Love and Light,
Saturday, October 3, 2009
"This God--His way is perfect; the promise of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him" (2 Samuel 22:31). The DAILY WORD today says, "God is my source, my strength, and my shield." Because of that, I am full of peace. He lifts my spirit and calms my mind.
Whenever I come across a challenge, I realize that I do not have to rely on my own limited capabilities, but that I can call on my Source, almighty God, to fill me with divine potential to handle whatever happens in life.
I live in the present moment, knowing that it is only here that I can access the presence of the Lord. Here is where I can gently let go of all concerns and relax. Here is where I can pause and reflect. Here is where I can find wisdom and understanding. "O send out Your light and Your truth; let them lead me" (Psalms 43:3).
There was a song in 1969 called "This Magic Moment". I know that as we live in the moment, we can touch the face of God and enjoy all the beauty of our surroundings. So in this magic moment right here at the computer, I let God's love move through me and accept the divine strength and love that only He can give.
Light and Love,
Sunday, September 27, 2009
"Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28). Just a moment of prayer or meditation can improve your mood, lower your blood pressure, decrease your anxiety, grant you more optimistism, give you resilience, and strengthen your immune system. No wonder the bible says to pray without ceasing. It's really easy to stay in a prayerful attitude during the day if you practice doing that. Once you get the habit, it feels so good to stay connected, and you will wonder how you ever got along without prayer.
Where do we go to pray? You can pray wherever you are: driving, washing dishes, making the bed, or waiting for class to start. Wherever you are, you can connect with God, and that is such a blessing.
The other thing about prayer is that the time to do it is NOW. There is no need to put it off until you have more time. Peacefulness brought on by prayer is available to you right now, right here. Whatever is happening in your life, do not let it keep you from prayer. The time we need prayer the most is when life is the most hectic and stressful.
Many times at night, I wake up with a concern on my mind. I find that if I avail myself to prayer, the concern will gently go away to be replaced by a sense of well-being. "If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit." (Galatians 5:25)
The DAILY WORD yesterday had this suggestion: "I imagine that I have just walked through the desert and have now reached an oasis with refreshing water, a cool breeze, and a hammock tied between two shade-giving trees. I have reached a welcome refuge."
Let the calmness and serenity of a tropical vacation wash over you and release all your concerns to God. Have a blessed week!
Love and Light,
Friday, September 18, 2009
"He said to them, 'Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more shall be given you.'" ~ Mark 4:24. I read that verse in the DAILY WORD today. It spoke to me about giving more attention to whatever I am doing. If I stay focused on this very moment, I am much more in tune with everything, and it is so much more enjoyable than if I absentmindedly go about my activities.
Today I was teaching at a junior high, and the kids and I were reading a novel full of action. I was caught up in the plot and so excited that I almost went over the allotted time. The students didn't want to stop reading and listening either because the climax of the novel was forthcoming with all the suspense and excitement that any good novel contains. We were caught up in the moment, giving it our full attention.
That's the way our life can be too. It is exciting and enjoyable if we give it our full attention. The more we practice this, the easier it will become.
We need to be selective, though, about what receives our attention. We can zero in on the ideas and feelings that give our life inspiration, and selectively filter out the things that give us a negative perception of the world.
The Holy Spirit guides us to what would serve us well if we are willing to listen and let Him sculpt our lives into something beautiful. Each precious moment of this life can impact us in a powerful, positive way if we let it dance around in our consciousness and let Him give us a loving, joyous rendition of the spirituality He offers so freely.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
"Be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and...clothe yourself with the new self." (Ephesians 4:23-24) Can you picture a whole new you?
Sometimes I use positive imagination to get me through challenging situations. This last weekend with family was wonderful, but an issue came up for which I had no solution. That night as I lay down, I shared my concerns with God as I always do. And as He always does, He helped me quiet my mind and release them to His guidance and direction.
I was ready to move forward with confidence and courage. I realized that I had become a very dependent person, one that was living my life in a way that longed for approval even if it met sacrificing my own beliefs. Instead, I felt the need to become someone who can stand on her own two feet and become assertive when the situation calls for that. "Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance the Lord will accomplish for you today." (Exodus 14:13)
Sometimes that can be a challenge, but the Lord will always give me direction when I go to Him in the moment receptive to His peace that passeth understanding. I can be a new person of changed perception and enjoy the miracle of peace when I forgive myself and others and open myself up to the flow of my GPS (God's Powerful Spirit).
When I get out of alignment with that golden flow of life and love, I know it from my uncomfortable feelings. That's when I want to give up my old way of thinking and know that the answer to everything comes from trusting God to work out all situations and circumstances in my life and turn them into something beautiful!
I use my positive imagination to create a harmonious picture of everything working out just perfectly! Yay! I'm enjoying starring in this movie of life. I know it will have a happy ending because God is the director, not me. I'm just the star!
You are starring in your own movie too. Enjoy it and let God give it a happy ending!
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I am so thankful for God's grace today. Even though I didn't ask for them, blessings rained down on me. I accepted a job in a music classroom this week, and as I was leading the fourth grade in their songs, I realized how beautiful the words were. We sang, "Something for me, something for you; you show love for me, I show love for you. If we take time to see what this world could be, we could live peacefully; we all could be free." This is part of a song by J.D. Steele, Larry Long, Brian C. Herron, and Nate Underwood. I just felt blessed to be singing these lovely words with such impressible little souls.
The second thing that truly blessed me today was getting out of school early. The teachers have an in-service every Wednesday so I get to leave an hour and a half before the usual end of the school day.
The third thing that blessed me today was our lawn service coming over to mow the lawn. I just felt so privileged to be able to have someone do such a wonderful task for us.
There are so many other blessings I received today like a wonderful dinner with my husband and granddaughter and the gratitude of my grand dog when I brought him in the house away from the scary lawn mower.
Paul said, "Everything is for your sake, so that grace...may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God" in 2 Corinthians 4:15. Every breath I take, every drop of rain that falls, every drink of clean water I enjoy, every morsel of food I digest, and every comfort of my home remind me of how abundantly God provides for me. I am grateful. "He brought me into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey," (Deuteronomy 26:9).
Love and Light,
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I saw this on a Max Lucado calendar and loved it. I was reading this morning in the paper about a second grade boy who volunteered to take out the trash in his classroom. He said, "We all like jobs." If we had the enthusiasm of this second grader, we would have happier, more fulfilling lives.
We spend 83,000 hours of our lives at work. How much better we would feel if we actually loved our work instead of merely enduring it while always looking forward to the weekend!
In a week and a half we will be celebrating Labor Day. I wonder if we would feel differently toward our labor if we changed our attitude about work. Richard Bach says, "The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work." I thought of that quote this weekend when Hubby and I, along with our granddaughter, weeded flower beds. It was hot, exhausting work, but I kept thinking about how wonderful it was to be outdoors with my family and how nice our yard would look when it was done.
Maybe it's time to be thankful for our jobs. When we get something done, we feel good about it. When you think about it, it seems ridiculous to put off that good feeling of accomplishment we get when our work is done. Ecclesiastes 2:10 says "My heart took delight in all my work" and another great philosopher named Larry the Cable Guy says, "Get 'er done." Good advice!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
"Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving," suggests David in Psalm 95:2. Yes, I can do that.
Today I am grateful for the rain we had earlier and for the sun coming out after the storm. The quickest way I know to elevate my mood is an attitude of gratitude.
Last Saturday we went to the Missouri State Fair, and the rain poured down at one point, causing me to go in search of our granddaughter to make sure she found shelter. I didn't complain about the rain, though, because we found a nice shelter with live music and good food and beverages. There is always a blessing if we search for one.
Gratitude serves us in many ways. First, seeing the blessings in every thing opens the way for more blessings. Every year when Frank and I do our Christmas card, I am amazed at all the blessings we have to share with others. We have to leave many out because there isn't room on the card to write them all down (and we don't want to bore people to death....lol).
Secondly, gratitude helps us live in the present moment. Each moment brings its own blessings. For instance, right now I feel blessed to have a laptop computer so I can write a blog entry or a message.
Lastly, an attitude of gratitude is what keeps me reverent. I thank God that He sees fit to bless my life in so many ways with a wonderful family, a good job, and a lovely home. Paul instructs us in I Thessalonians 5:18, "In every thing give thanks." Thank You, Lord. I am indeed blessed.
Love & Light,
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I visited my mom a couple of days ago and sat with her through her chemo treatment. At the end, I hugged her and then went out to my car a little tearful. A sense of powerlessness overwhelms me sometimes. Then I realized something, I could pray. I went back into the treatment center and prayed with her. I felt a release. I think she did too.
Numbers 6:26 says, "The Lord lift up His countenance and give you peace." That peace carries with it the strength we need to get through life. In church we say, "Wherever I am, God is, and all is well."
Thanks, Lord, for being our comfort and our strength. Thanks for providing the care and the people needed to bring about healing. Thanks for blessing Mom in many ways with a wonderful doctor and great nurses, a caring husband, and a comforting niece to sit with her through treatments.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
"After the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice," (I Kings 19:11-12). Sometimes things happen that challenge us and change our circumstances, but God will help us through them. Our GPS (God's Powerful Spirit) will guide us to a place of strength and peace. God doesn't cause catastrophes, but He does enfold us with His ever-present love and give us refuge. That still small voice opens our hearts to experience love and grace. He will show us the way and transform us and those we love with His healing presence. That is how we know that all is well. "The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places," (Isaiah 58:11). I am so grateful for this. Thank You, Lord. Our hope is in You, and I am renewed. "The promise of the Lord proves true; He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him," (Psalms 18:30)
Light and Love,
Sunday, July 26, 2009
"Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing" (I Thessalonians 5:11). I just got back from my daughter's house. We were celebrating her birthday. I wanted to go there to encourage her because she has been going through some tough times lately. She has three children, and the two youngest keep her hopping. She hardly has a minute to herself. On top of that, she isn't doing too well financially. Before I left today, I prayed for her. I felt our bond strengthen, and the love of God soothed us both. I needed prayer as much as she did to become calm and peaceful. I try not to worry because I listened to an audio tape by Wayne Dyer in which he said, "It doesn't make sense to worry over the things you can control because if you have control, why worry? It also doesn't make sense to worry about the things over which you have no control because if you have no control, why worry? That takes into consideration all things. There is absolutely no need to worry because if you can control it, do it. If you can't control it, worry will do no good." I don't know if those were his exact words, but it was pretty close to that. What does make sense is to release all concern and relax in God's Presence, receiving His love and peace. "Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;...for the Lord has comforted His people." (Isaiah 49:13).
Love and Light,
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
"Bless the Lord, O my soul,....who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's," said David in Psalms 103:1,5. This morning some negative thoughts were keeping my usually grateful self from rising from my bed with its usual happy bounce. I was not feeling all that youthful in my not-so-youthful body. What was wrong? I had temporarily stepped out of the present moment into anxiety of what the future will bring. In our current economic environment, I was concerned about our kids and ourselves. Yet I know that John Milton was right when he wrote, "The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven." I could stay there in the misery of hell or rise up to the joy of Heaven. It was my choice. I decided to release my cares into the competent hands of the Lord. This is not always easy. Joel Osteen likens it to digging a new river, one thought at a time. He says, "At first, just a little water will be redirected out of the negative stream and trickle over into that positive stream." Then as we choose faith over fear, serenity releases tension in the spirit just like a massage releases tension in the body. (I know about massage because my daughter is a licensed therapist.) As renewal comes, I start expecting good things, starting with having a productive day. Finally the negative stream, referred to by Joel, starts dwindling and the positive river flows with great force. Alfred Lord Tennyson writes, "Cast all your cares on God; that anchor holds." I will not be washed away by that tiny negative stream. No, the mighty positive river will carry me in its current to calmness. Come to think of it, the bible tells us to cast our cares upon God too. OK, now I'm feeling like an eagle!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
"Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" (I Corinthians 3:16) Because of God's indwelling Spirit, we can be happy and at peace. That's a fact! How do we release cares and concerns in our minds and hearts? We live gratefully in the present moment with faith in a loving God. We take responsibility for our own happiness. We stop blaming others and complaining about our circumstances. According to scientists who study the brain, 80% of our thoughts are negative. This kind of thought process poisons our systems. Are we doomed then to unhappiness? No, because we can learn to question our thoughts when they enter our brain. We can ask ourselves if the thought is true. When our district applied RIF (Reduction in Force) in 2002 and 2003 to cut the budget, I told myself that the district was wrong to let go of 132 educators in two years. I really seriously asked myself, "Were the district administrators and board members out to ruin our teaching careers?" Of course, the answer was "No", even though I told myself that lie for a while and let negative thinking engulf me. I had to finally let it go. After I did, I started to think about ways to make income without that job. I came up with the idea of substitute teaching. This positive thought expanded into a joyous plan to take pressure off myself and enjoy a very flexible schedule and still have the satisfaction of teaching. My husband's income and my inheritance from my parents could make up the difference. We can learn to let go of a negative thought and redirect ourselves to think in a more positive way. It will take time. If we are in the habit of thinking in a negative way, redirecting our thoughts to more positive ones will take some focus on our parts. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Paul says "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things" in Colossians 3:2. With our GPS (God's Powerful Spirit) inside, we can be joyful children of God.
Monday, June 29, 2009
"I believe that every single event in life that happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear" (Oprah Winfrey). A group that was trying to get me to join just sent that to me at a time when I needed to hear it. I so believe in love. On facebook I have a group about love called, "The Greatest of These Is Love", named after the I Corinthians 13:13, "And now abideth faith, hope, charity; but the greatest of these is love." When we feel dumped on and wronged, we might fear love because it hurts. It is at that time, we need to realize that behind the pain someone may try to inflict on us is a call for love. We have to be careful not to let any negative words get into our thought processes so that we start obsessing over them and let them steal our peace. "Beloved, since God loved us so much....God lives in us, and His love is perfected in us," (I John 4:11-12). Any time we feel anger, it is because of fear. Jerry Jampolsky wrote a book called LOVE IS LETTING GO OF FEAR, and he explains that when we get upset, it is usually not for the reason we think. Usually something from our unhealed past comes up that we need to forgive, heal, and release. Forgiveness is the only thing that will return peace of mind to us. We need to make a choice to harbor good feelings toward others, no matter what they do. When we hang onto guilt and blame, we begin to fear love. We can not experience peace and love if we find value in guilt and blame. God promises us "a pleasant vineyard" in Isaiah 27:2-4. All we need to do is guard it from harm by not harboring anger. In the previous chapter in Isaiah, chapter 26, verse 3, the prophet tells us, "Those of steadfast mind you keep in perfect peace--in peace because they trust in You." Then in Romans 14:19, Paul states, "Let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding." When others are acting angry, resentful, judgmental, and seem to be attacking us, we need to hold out an abundance of love and compassion. What we give will expand and no one will lose. Every one will be a winner. So no matter what is happening, we can choose peace. This peace is not dependent on what another says or does, or whether we get our way or not. It is dependent on our choice and our perception. Our perceptions are formed by our thoughts and beliefs, and we can choose what we put in our minds. Choose forgiveness and healing for our relationships because harmony is more important than being right. Isaiah 52:7 states, "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace." Let us be that messenger, Lord. Help us remember that no matter what is the problem, love is the answer. Jesus says in John 13:34 "I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another."
Monday, June 22, 2009
"You have made known to me the ways of life. You will make me full of gladness with Your presence" (Acts 2:28). I just returned from visiting my daughter Teresa and granddaughter Jess in another state. While I was there, Teresa checked out a book for me called HAPPY FOR NO REASON by Marci Shimoff. I didn't have time to read much of it during my short visit, but I found what little I read was very illuminating. Aristotle wrote that "Happiness is the meaning and purpose of human existence." Thomas Jefferson, along with other founding fathers, said we had the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the "Declaration of Independence". I did not realize until recently that in 1776 the word "pursuit" meant "practice" instead of "chasing after". We were guaranteed the practice of happiness, not just the right to chase after the elusive idea of happiness!! Wow! What a difference that makes! So few people are happy, but I've found that if I stand straight and tall, with my shoulders back and take a deep breath, while putting a smile on my face, a little light of joy comes on. Try it!! Joel is often criticized for his ever-present smile, but I practice smiling all the time too, even when I don't feel like it. Guess what? The smile actually makes me feel the joy that is on the inside. Tolstoy tells a story of a beggar that sits on a box full of gold begging for money because he is unaware of that on which he is sitting. Let's not be like the beggar. Let's be aware that we have the ability to be happy now, regardless of circumstances. It's inside us. All we have to do is practice to bring it out. Throw back your shoulders, believe in God's joy, and smile. Relax! Feel the joy! Now with gratitude in your heart, thank God for all your many blessings. "He will fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouts of joy" (Job 8:21). Yay! You might even start singing! :)
Friday, June 5, 2009
"Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand," says Paul in the King James Version of Philippinas 4:5. The dictionary says that moderation is the avoidance of extremes, or the practice of calmness. Aw, yes, calmness and serenity....I like that! I have my three granddaughters staying with me this week, ages three to fourteen, and believe it or not, I have found such peacefulness. For one thing, the older ones help a lot with the youngest one. To keep the house serene, we practice moderation...not too much sugar, enough sleep, and healthy food. The youngest two granddaughters are vegetarians so their eating style helps us all eat a little healthier. Last night Hubby fixed delicious eggplant parmigiana. It's been a while since I've had that, and it was yummy. Another part of this moderation is to stay in the flow....not too much excitement before bedtime, no mommy calls after six p.m., and no loud screamo music from the teenage granddaughter. Still, another very important part of staying moderate is to make sure I get some time to refresh my spiritual self....so I practice meditation as I perform simple tasks like dishes, etc. I also try staying in the present moment so I can enjoy each moment with them. While I am bathing the three year old, I pay attention to her chatter. She says the cutest things. This morning she told me that she loves me to the moon and back, and even to the grass and back. She also asks if she could wake the older girls and tell them that the sun woke up. Oh, the joy of grandchildren. "We were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children," says Paul in I Thessalonians 2:7. Lastly, I relax, realizing the divine order of everything. Peace fills my soul, and I am grateful to be a nana. I feel energized and ready for anything. These bright little angels are my heritage, and I love them so much!! :) In YOUR BEST LIFE NOW, Joel asks what we are passing down to the next generation. My hope is that I am passing down the blessing of doing things in moderation with peace of mind.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
"In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at His reflection in a poor mirror, but someday, we are going to see Him in His completeness, face to face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now." (I Corinthians 13:12) NOW is the time to give up the fear and judgment that is causing blurred vision and see instead with clarity. Or do we want to stay in that haze? Do we want awareness or confusion? God is changeless and when we want His peace and joy above all else, we WILL receive it. Does that mean that we will experience nothing but good times? Well, no, but it does mean our perception changes about things in life. It means that gratitude in our attitude will help us truly see past what appears to be negative to what is a blessing about it. It means that we will realize that there is a positive in everything and that everything works together for good as promised in Romans 8:28. "For we know that all things work together for good." It means we will remain hopeful instead of despairing. If we truly believe that God is love as I John 4:16 states, then we will not fear God's will because love makes no demands. It only gives of itself. God loves us. If we will open ourselves up to the truth, we will experience the peace, joy, and awareness of God's unchanging love that is ours forever. We are safe. That can never change. Thank You, Lord.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
"Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before His presence with singing.
Know ye that the LORD He is God:
it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves;
we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
and into His courts with praise:
be thankful unto Him,and bless His name.
For the LORD is good;
His mercy is everlasting;
and His truth endureth to all generations."
~ Psalm 100
How I love this scripture!! Years ago I learned to sing it in church. Enter into His courts with thanksgiving, and we will find only happiness and love there. When we enter God's presence, the peace and joy there are indescribable. Our mind becomes cleansed of fear, anger, and guilt. It becomes impossible to see anything but LOVE there. We see innocence and awareness, and our life gains purpose. With Christ's vision, we come to understand Paul's words that "the greatest of these is love." What a gift God has given us! We come to understand that everyone is either extending love, or putting out a call for love. I came to understand this a few years ago when someone was acting very rudely towards me. I realized that this person needed love in the desperate way. I resolved to show love no matter what treatment I received. I'm happy to say it released me from the pain of resentment and caused the "rude" person to act in a much more positive way toward me. We realize spiritual principles such as these when we spend time in the presence of our Lord. When God leads the way, the light on our path will illumine our life with the greatest sense of well-being and peace that we have ever felt. We will be too blessed to be stressed. Our wells will be full of joy, and hope will burn all burdens away. "Be still, and know that I am God!" (Psalm 46:10) Peace fills my soul.
Monday, May 11, 2009
"You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses" ~ Ziggy (Tom Wilson). I just spent Mother's Day with my mom, and as much as I hate to admit it, it had been a long time since I had done that. It was such a wonderful day. My mom has every reason to complain. She has cancer and diabetes, but her optimistic outlook is amazing. She really does see the roses instead of the thorns. It reminds me of the story of Joshua and Caleb. Ten spies went out to check out the land of Canaan, and eight came back saying that while the land was flowing with milk and honey, the enemies were too formidable to overcome. Caleb and Joshua, however, came back saying while the Canaanites were a very strong people, the two of them were well able to possess the land. That's the way Mom views life. She knows her health issues are nothing to sneeze at, but she also knows that she has handled many obstacles in her life thus far.....and she isn't about to let her health challenges get her down. Thank You, Lord, for mothers. What an example of strength my mother is!
Monday, May 4, 2009
"Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning" (Psalms 30:5). Last week my Mom was facing surgery, and now it is done. She did so well! I requested prayers for her. She experienced chest pains and had a small heart attack before her surgery, causing the doctor concern about her ability to withstand the surgery, but in the end, there was no choice. The cancer had to be removed. Well, thank the Lord, she survived and is thriving now. I talked to her last night, and she is optimistic and strong. I am very proud of her. While she was in surgery, I felt helpless. I couldn't be there. All I could do is pray, and pray I did! I was so relieved when it was over, and my sister told me that all had gone well. Like I said last week, my God is bigger than any challenge that presents itself. God is in control of each and every day, and each and every circumstance. My job is to stay in peace and faith while I await God's best. God never lets me down! "Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint" (Isaiah 40:31 NIV).
Monday, April 27, 2009
"Nothing can be done without hope and optimism," wrote Helen Keller. I'm creating an environment of gratitude today. I break through limitations and feel empowered by truth, health, joy, peace, and victory. I not only claim that for myself but for my mom who has been having health issues. I claim that for my husband, my children, my grandchildren, and my friends too. "So I tell you, whatever you ask, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." (Mark 11:24)
I'm asking the Lord to be with my mom tomorrow as she has surgery and to give her strength. I'm expecting the glass to be more than "half full"; I'm expecting the glass to overflow! "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1) I know God is in control.
I believe in miracles. I've witnessed them personally several times. My youngest daughter was told that she couldn't have any children after her motorcycle accident; yet she has given birth to two beautiful, healthy children since then! If God can work those kinds of miracles in my daughter's life, He surely can make Mom well again. Arnold Palmer said, "The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done."
Today I will not limit a God of unlimited resources. Joel Osteen writes, "Today I'm beginning to change my mind, to allow God to help me make it anew. No more limitations. God created me to be a champion in life, and I'm going to start thinking like a champion." Me too, Joel. I'm not going to worry about the Swine flu, the economy, cancer, or anything else. I'm not going to tell God how big my challenges are; I'm telling my challenges how big my God is!!
Labels: I'm optimistic about my family....my mom is sitting on the floor by my brother, my grandma, myself
Monday, April 20, 2009
I am choosing right now to step out of negative emotions into the present. "Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery; today is a gift....that's why they call it the Present." I love that quote. Although I don't know the author, it means so much to me. If I follow it, I will live my best life now. I won't live in a world of guilt for what I did or didn't do. I won't worry about tomorrow. That's a tough one right now because my mom is getting test results from a biopsy back tomorrow, and yet I know that my anxiety will not bring about better results. It will only cause me pain so I don't want to go there. Today is all I have...actually tonight is all I have. This is a precious moment in time. I am sitting at the computer writing...which is one of my favorite things to do. My granddaughter is doing her homework, and I just enjoy knowing she is here with me. This is my life. I'm living in the present moment. My husband is on a business trip, but I will not waste precious time wishing him here. Instead I choose to be grateful for his contributions to our income. I am enjoying being in the presence of God. The present moment is the point of access to the timeless form and being of my Creator. This moment is my reality. Eckhart Tolle says in THE POWER OF NOW, "Just as the moon has no light of its own, but can only reflect the light of the sun, so are past and future only pale reflections of the light, power, and reality of the eternal present." Joel Osteen says, "Happy, successful individuals understand that the future begins with what happens today. They make the most of the present moment and build their future one day at a time." Yes, I am living my best life now.....right NOW!! How about you?
Monday, April 13, 2009
How do we keep our enthusiasm for life? I think the best thing we can do is be grateful. Life has its share of disappointments, to be sure, but there are so many blessings as well. If we focus on the blessings, we can't help but be thankful for life and love.
For those of us who have significant others, when we think back to when the relationship was new, we can't help but remember how wonderful it felt when our love called us or held our hand or any number of little things that made our heart race. We need to rekindle that flame and remember how fortunate we are to have someone in our lives. There are so many lonely people in this world.
Even if everything in our life is not perfect, we can be happy. We have discussed the idea before that we have a choice about our feelings. Joel Osteen says, "Quit looking at what's wrong in your life and start being grateful for what's right."
If we have a job, we need to remember that in these challenging economic times, many people would love to have our job. When I walk into the classroom, I always smile because I know that at least one of my students is going to smile back. Smiles are contagious.
Romans 12:11 says, "Never lag in zeal, but be aglow and on fire serving the Lord." Before I get out of bed in the morning, I start counting my blessings. My body is healthy; I have a wonderful family; I have an awesome home; my car works; I have food to eat......well, you get the point.....so many things! "This is the day that the Lord hath made. I will be glad and rejoice in it."
Isaiah 1:19 says, "When we are willing and obedient, we will eat the good of the land." What that means to me is that I need to have a good attitude! It's a privilege to go to work. It's a privilege to live in this great country. There are so many things I get to do. If I keep my perspective and say, "I get to do_____instead of I have to do_______," it makes a huge difference. I get to fix breakfast and make coffee in the morning; I get to go to school and teach awesome kids; I get to run an errand for my husband; I get to take my granddaughter to an appointment. Joel says, "When you focus on the good, that's when you bolster your enthusiasm and passion."
It's spring now, and everywhere we look, we can see the miracle of new life. We need to cultivate a spirit of thankfulness. Colossians 3:2 says "to set your mind and keep it set on the higher things." Let's stay passionate about life!
Monday, April 6, 2009
I came across a picture of Sierra,one of my granddaughters, with an empty Easter basket but a huge smile on her face. I know why she was smiling. She was expecting to fill that basket with goodies! She was prepared. She had a big enough basket to hold everything. She was hopeful and positive, and she was putting actions with her expectations.
That is a good example of how we are supposed to start receiving. Dr. Bruce Wilkinson says, "Asking is the beginning of receiving. Through a simple believing prayer, you can change your future. You can change what happens one minute from now." James 5:7 says, "Be patient as you wait. See how the farmer waits expectantly." James 2:17 says, "Faith without corresponding actions is dead." That's why Sierra had an Easter basket and was ready to hunt for eggs when I snapped that photo. She was putting actions behind her belief. She was making preparations!
Isaiah 40:31 says, "Those that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint." Sierra, making preparations in a small area, such as getting out an Easter basket to prepare for finding eggs and other goodies is just a little example of getting ready to receive God's blessings. We may have bigger expectations in our hearts. But the one thing we can learn from a child is to have simple faith and put actions behind that faith.
Sometimes we need to ignore negative reports. Maybe someone will say, "You can't do that." Maybe we will start to sabotage our own efforts by telling ourselves we can't do something. I remember that in 2005, I was so tired of being overweight. I had tried many times before to lose weight, but this particular time my husband was going to eat healthy right along with me. That, along with some other things happening in my life, inspired me, and eventually I lost 66.7 lbs. Now I'm struggling again with my weight because I've gained about 30 of those pounds back, but guess what? I'm making preparations to lose those 30 pounds. I started a week ago and have already lost 3.4 of them.
Joel Osteen says, "Stretch your faith. Put some actions behind what you are believing God to do for you. Maybe you've just about given up on what God has put in your heart. You think your life is never going to get any better. It can, but you must rekindle the fire."
Like Sierra, I'm prepared. I bought the right kind of groceries. I went to my weight watcher meeting. I am keeping the right attitude. I'm going from believing to expecting. I will receive the desires of my heart. Thank You, Lord.
Monday, March 30, 2009
"Ever be filled with the Spirit by speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns, by making melody in your heart, and by being grateful" (Ephesians 5:18,19). I'm just so happy and grateful to be alive today. Sometimes I think people think that I just have a wonderful life, and I do. That doesn't mean I don't have stress and pressure. It just means that I choose to stay positive. I put into my life more positive stuff than negative. I sing a joyful song unto the Lord.
The other day, my granddaughter Jessie and I were driving home from Nebraska after Spring Break, and we started singing with the radio, "Follow me. Everythin' will be alright." I actually think we were singing a song about cocaine because the lyrics say something about "swimming through your veins". Yikes! Jessie says the song is about a woman cheating on her husband. But you know what? We were singing and enjoying the moment and not paying attention to the words of the song.....just singing and enjoying being together, making melody in our hearts.
The week before we kept my two-year-old granddaughter Kaya and she sways and dances to the music in such a comical way, we just crack up from watching her. She's hilarious! Oh, to have the innocent joy of a child again! When we recover our childlike enthusiasm, we have a song in our heart and a smile on our face.
Joel says, "How would our attitude change if we did not take everything so seriously and refused to allow every setback or disappointment to depress us for two weeks?" What if we wouldn't allow our problems to steal our joy? Our joy would rub off on other people. If we smile, others smile back.
"We are ambassadors of Christ" (2 Corinthians 5:20). Wow! We can hold our heads up high and walk with confidence. It may not come easy, but we can train ourselves to guard against negative emotions and let the positive ones prevail. Just keep singing your song! :)
Monday, March 23, 2009
Too often we expect the worst! Why not plan for blessing instead? In Second Kings there is a story about a poor widow who had two sons about to be sold as bondsmen so that she could pay her debts. Wow! As a mother, my heart went out to that lady who in that ancient story had plenty about which to worry. I would have driven myself crazy with worry if my children were about to be sold for my debts. Wouldn't anyone? The prophet Elisha did not sympathize with her though or give her money. Instead, he helped her plan for a blessing. She had a little pot of oil, and Elisha suggested that she send her boys out to borrow dishes from the neighbors. Then the widow was instructed to use her faith and pour her little bit of oil into the neighbors' dishes. She filled all of them! She finally had to stop pouring because she ran out of dishes! Wow! What faith! Our God can supply our needs if we start asking Him. Lowell Fillmore says, "Let no one despair because he may seem to have little to draw upon. Rather let him look within and rejoice in the abundance that God has given him in Spirit, and then let him fearlessly give forth what he finds in the house." Joel Osteen says, "Start expecting. While we are expecting good things from God, we should be making plans. We need to talk as if what we are praying about is going to happen. We should dare to step out in faith and act like it's going to happen." Use the be-have-do model to get into the golden flow of the Holy Spirit's blessing. I am expecting a miracle. I already have a little bit of the resources I need to make it happen. In faith, I'm taking the step to make my dreams come true. Just like the poor widow, I will pour my little bit of resources into my huge plan for blessing. "They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither, and whatsoever they do shall prosper" (Psalms 1:3). I'm saying along with Joel, "This is going to be a blessed day; I'm having a good month. This is the best year of my life. I know great things are in store. Goodness and mercy are following me. God's favor is surrounding me. I am expecting increase, promotion, and abundance." I will succeed, not fail. I will stop worrying and start expecting blessings from on high. Father, I thank You that right now You are blessing me beyond my greatest expectations, and I am so grateful. You know my family situation, and You love everyone one of us. Things are going to work out beautifully because we can not fail when You are in charge. I feel the joy and enthusiasm of already having my dreams come true. I thank You for giving me the blessing of an awesome family, and I thank You that each one of them is going to live a long, healthy, blessed, prosperous life. Thank You for Your unlimited resources. Not only will You bless my family, but You will bless everyone who reads this message in whatever situation they may find themselves. I am making provisions just like the poor widow did. Thank You, Lord.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
It's easy to fix surface things, but sometimes we have to go deeper to get to the root of the problem. We need to look inside and get honest with ourselves. Why do I feel this way? Why do I have such a negative attitude toward this? Why did I say such hurtful things? Why do I react this way? These are questions for self-examination. We don't ask them to beat ourselves up, but to find out where, with whom, and why negative feelings arise so we can quickly release them and feel better about ourselves and other people. We are usually not upset for the reason we think. It's not usually what's outside ourselves that is causing our distress. It is oftentimes something from our unhealed past. If we can uncover it, we can forgive and heal. The Bible teaches that we should not let the root of bitterness spring forth and contaminate our whole lives. We are not victims of the world we see. If we feel wronged, dumped on, or like someone is taking advantage of us, or that love is ultimately dangerous or hurtful, we must remind ourselves that we are not the helpless result of others' thoughts and actions. Since all unloving thoughts of ourselves project outward and determine the way we see the world, we are ultimately victims of our own thoughts and not of the outside world. Joel talks about the children of Israel developing a victim mentality and blaming the past, complaining,and fretting over their wilderness journey instead of having faith to make their trip from Egypt to the Promised Land in eleven days instead of forty years! If we stay on the surface, it is like riding a treadmill and never actually going any place. If we dig deeper and get to the root of our problems, then we can rise above them. If we get rid of our bitter roots, we can be happier and have better relationships. Are we relying on someone else to make us happy? Do we have unrealistic expectations? Are we allowing our circumstances to keep us down? If so, we need to remember our royal heritage. We are children of the Most High God, and the Holy Spirit resides inside us. "Greater is He that is in you and He that is in the world" (I John 4:4). Let's get down to the root and face the truth about ourselves. Then we can make adjustments to improve our lives and be happier. We deserve good relationships and a full life. Let's get to the root of the problem and discover who we really are.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
"God will use your conscience to help lead you and keep you out of trouble," Joel Osteen says in BECOME A BETTER YOU. I attended an assembly today at a high school given by a former police officer who had a daughter, Kelsy Smith, abducted from the Target parking lot in Olathe and killed. He told us that 70% of personal safety depends on listening to your intuition. I am not sure how closely related conscience and intuition are, but I feel like both are the voice of God inside. I've called that a GPS (God's Powerful Spirit) before, and today I would like to make a case for using it. Joel says, "Don't override your own conscience. When you feel uncomfortable down inside, pull back and pay attention to what God is trying to say to you." He can protect you from danger. Joel goes on to say, "every time you obey, your conscience becomes more tender. When you obey, you're letting in more light. Your heart will be a little softer and you'll respond more quickly.....Live your life with a clear conscience. Get into God's best plan. The Scripture says in Matthew 6:22 that the lamp of the body is the eye." The former police officer advised us to be aware of our surroundings and make eye contact. It humanizes us and makes it harder for the offender to harm us. Also if we have our eyes open, we are aware of what is going on around us, and that adds to our safety. I am learning to accept direction from my inner, intuitive voice, which is my guide to knowing. I think of conscience as the urging to do the right thing. Both intuition and conscience are valuable tools of my GPS. As long as I listen to that still, small voice, I will be OK, and so will you. :)
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Joel Osteen says, "The way to rise higher is by staying open and dealing with issues as God brings them to light....Anyone of us can rise higher. There is no limit to what God will do in your life, if you will learn to obey quickly." We need to listen to our GPS (God's Powerful Spirit). That is the part of us that transcends our body's and our mind's limitations. We can bring forth the light of God because our GPS lifts us above any experience we may face. How does this happen? Well, we have a wonderful example in Jesus. He stole away from the masses to pray. This communion with God kept His Spirit high. Even when He went to the cross, He was not overwhelmed because He knew that He was fulfilling His purpose on earth. He did not see himself as a victim but as a victor. Another example He set is forgiveness. Jesus said, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." We need to also forgive if we expect to rise higher. A third example he sets is His ability to stay focused on the present moment. Jesus was placed between two thieves at the crucifixion. One thief represents the past. He says to Jesus, "I know I deserve what I'm getting because I know I've done a lot of negative things. However, YOU don't deserve this, Jesus." The other thief represents the future when he says, "What's going to happen to us after this experience?" Jesus represents the present when he says, "Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise." When we hang out in the past like the first thief, we set ourselves up for regret. When we hang out in the future, we set ourselves up for worry and anxiety. Jesus stays in the present moment. It is in our awareness of what is going on right now that we can find peace. It is in the present moment that we can hear the voice of God and rise higher. When we go from "nowhere" to "now here", we experience divinity and bliss. When we are ready to transcend, we go within and get in touch with our GPS. God will then raise us higher so we can transform our world a little at a time. We can rise above any circumstance and let our light shine to make this world a better place. Joel says, "God is preparing you for greater things. He's going to take you further than you thought possible, so don't be surprised when He asks you to think better of yourself and to act accordingly." Jesus taught us these three things by example: (1) Pray and listen to the Holy Spirit, our GPS; (2) Forgive;, and (3) Stay in the Present. If we would do these three things, we can rise above any circumstance that comes along.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
If you believe that God is there for you no matter what, then sorrow will have as much divinity as joy. GOD IS in control!! Banish any doubt of that! It is not enough to believe this to be true; you must KNOW this to be true. Otherwise nagging doubts will steal your joy. If trauma happens in your life, strive for peace of mind by KNOWING God is in control, and that HE has your best interests at heart. HE loves you and me. Thank You, LORD! Joel Osteen says, "When we truly trust Him and believe that He's in control, we can rest. There's a peace in our hearts and minds. Deep down on the inside, we know that everything is going to be all right." Wow! Isn't that a comforting thought? No matter what happens, God is in control, causing us to be in the right place at the right time. Every day the media puts out more scary stuff about the economy, and if we don't know WHO is really in charge, that news will steal our peace and joy. Last week we discussed remembering our good. It's a good thing to remember how God has bailed us out in the past. His economic bail-out is much more dependable than anything the government can do. He's never let us down in the past, and He will certainly be there in our future. That's not to say we won't have some challenges in our life, but ultimately we will see God's hand in everything that happens. He's working in our lives and arranging things in our favor. I Thessalonians 2:13 says, "God is effectually at work in those who believe." God has the answer. He knows the beginning and the end. That takes away the stress and the worry. What a relief from the pressure of life to know that God is in control! Expect good things. Rely on God's perfect timing. "Weeping my endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning" (Psalms 30:5).
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
David says in Psalms 77:11, "I recall the many miracles God has done for me. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them." Talk about an attitude of gratitude! David constantly remembered the good. What an example! When I remember the good things in my life, I am so grateful. I remember the sad times too when God carried me through them to a sweet spot. One of the loneliest times of my life occurred when my girls grew up and moved away. I was in Lodgepole, Nebraska, and my daughters moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas. I missed them so much. My first grandchild was born to Teresa in Arkansas while I still lived in Nebraska. Oh, how I longed to be with my family! Then Teresa had a pulmonary embolism. It was one of the scariest times of my life. I flew down to Arkansas to be with her and my new granddaughter while she was in the hospital. Later when she was released from the hospital, I went back to that small Nebraska town where I had taught English for fourteen years, but I found that I could no longer endure the separation from my daughters and little granddaughter Jessica. So I decided to resign from teaching in Lodgepole and move to Fort Smith, Arkansas. It was already summer, and I wondered if the schools in Fort Smith had already hired all the teachers for the fall. I filled out applications for the schools but took a minimum wage job for the summer. I was concerned about how I would survive on that wage when one of the junior high schools responded to my application. I had an interview! Every one told me that it would be very hard to get the job because there were a lot of applicants. I had God's favor, though, and landed a job at the junior high. It was awesome! I now lived close to my daughters and granddaughter. I was thrilled. Before long, I met Frank, my wonderful husband. God turned my loneliness and my daughter's health issue into something beautiful. Teresa recovered and my lonely life was suddenly full to the brim! Talk about God directing my steps and giving me such blessings in His perfect timing. Wow! What an encouragement that is for me even to this very day! I thank God for what He has done. That memory causes me to dwell on God's goodness so I can stay in an attitude of faith and victory. The pictures above show Teresa, Jessica, and me years later climbing around on Mt. Evans in Colorado.
It's good to write down how God answers our prayers. In our bible study group, at one time we were encouraged to keep our worries in a notebook and pray over them. Then when God answered them, we recorded that. It was amazing what an encouragement that notebook was for me. Every time I got it out and read how God worked out every situation, I was so encouraged. I started to call it my blessing notebook. Joel Osteen says, "When you recall how God opened this door for you, protected you over here, restored you over there, healed you here, your faith will increase....He is holding you in the palm of His hand, and He will take care of you." Yes, Lord, help me to always remember the good that You have done. Thank YOU, LORD!!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I can choose peace by directing myself to be peaceful inside, regardless of what is happening outside. Joel Osteen says, "Many people are trying to get rid of their problems, hoping they will then be happy;then they can start enjoying their lives. But God wants us to learn to have peace in the midst of storms. He wants us to have peace even when things aren't going our way." There will always be something that has the potential to upset us. If it is something that we cannot change, we might as well go with the flow. What other choice do we have? Will it do any good to get upset about the things of which we can do nothing? Remember St.Francis of Assisi's prayer for God to "grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change." Instead we need to turn the situation completely over to God, knowing He is in control of our lives. How do we show our trust in God? We do it by remaining calm in the midst of the storm. With God all things are possible. One of the ways to stay calm is to soar about the drama like an eagle. I recently watched a video about eagles, which was posted by one of the members of a facebook group I created called "The Greatest of These Is Love". Like an eagle, we need to rise above our circumstances. If we can stay above the storm and not let anyone or anything pull us down, we will feel so much closer to our God who gives us the peace that passeth understanding. He told us to cast all our cares on Him and become more than conquerors. If we can't change our circumstances, let's rise above them by letting God carry us just like the wind currents carry the eagle. Remember the scripture that says we will run and not be weary, walk and not faint, but instead we will rise up with wings like eagles. Joel says, "Be the eagle....Stretch your wings and rise to the level where God wants you to live. You were made to soar; you were made for more." No, these bad economic times will not get us down. Instead we will rise up with wings like eagles.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Can you relax and go with the flow? It's challenging at times. Joel Osteen says, "Stretching can sometimes be uncomfortable." It is during those times that it is important to stay in the present and be at peace. With this peacefulness comes power. That's because when we are at rest, God can take over. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Let God take your burdens and with a good attitude and a joyful spirit, let Him bring you the peace that passeth understanding. Our circumstances are not going to change until we do. There is a purpose for everything. "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13). I certainly have claimed this verse many times, especially when my daughter had a motorcycle accident. I also remembered the Romans 8:28 passage that "all things work together for good", which I am sure I've quoted many times on this blog. This takes a lot of the stress away because we know that if something "bad" happens, something good is going to come from it. Exodus 14 says that "if you will remain at rest and hold your peace, then the battle is not yours, but the battle is the Lord's". We show our trust in God when we stay in peace with a smile on our face. God is bigger than anything we are facing. Joel says, "He can make a way when it looks like there is no way. Don't quit living your life. Don't let that obstacle be the central focus of your existence. Keep pressing forward, trusting God, and knowing that as you believe, all things are possible." Psalms 30: 5 says that "weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning". I remember coming across that verse as a teenager when I was worried about someone caught in a snow storm in Nebraska. When I found out in the morning that he was safe, I rejoiced as I recalled that verse. Sometimes we have to go through trying times for our own personal growth, but sometimes we have to go through trying times for someone else's sake. It's not always all about us. What we go through may help someone else in similar circumstances. I remember my daughter ministering to others in similar circumstances after her accident because she understood their pain as no one else could. Like we discussed last week, we need to embrace the place we are. "Cast your burdens on the Lord. Release the weight of them and God will sustain you" (Psalms 55:22).
Monday, January 12, 2009
When we were growing up, we formed a mental picture of who we were based on the conditioning we received from our culture and family. We kept dwelling on this picture until we decided that our identity was synonymous with the image we had of ourselves, but it is so dysfunctional to keep the past alive or to project ourselves into the future. We may be saying to ourselves, "Someday, when this, that, or the other happens, I am going to be happy and at peace", but Paul says in Philippians 4:11, "For I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content." We can be peaceful inside no matter what is happening outside because we can choose how we feel about ourselves, others, and the world. Many people are not happy with where they are in life so they worry, try to reason things out, and then try to change things that only God can change. Joel says, "I believe that we create much of our own unhappiness by constantly resisting and fighting against situations and circumstances occurring in our lives." Carl Jung said, "What you resist, persists." We need to relax and accept the place where we are. Is it easy? Well, no. We have been conditioned to wrestle with life and resist our circumstances, but great peace of mind occurs when we REALLY turn things over to God. If we relax and give up worry and stress, we can start enjoying life. That doesn't mean we can't be honest and pray that things will be different, but in the end, we know that God has the final say. If we believe that our God is loving and has our best interest at heart, it is so much easier to give up our struggles. Romans 8:28, my favorite verse, says, "All things work together for good to those that love God." God won't automatically remove every challenge because we have to go through some things to refine and develop our character. That is for our own personal growth, but if we have the right attitude, we will come through these challenges stronger and better than ever. The thing is: GOD wants to give us a GOOD life and fulfill our DESTINY more than anyone. He put a dream in our hearts, and He will direct us to it. At the same time, we need to trust that He knows the big picture. He knows when there is danger ahead or the timing is not right. So with the little knowledge we have that allows us to "see through the glass dimly" (I Corithians 13:12), we need to trust that He knows when something or someone will be a distraction that hinders our destiny. Some of the very things we may be frustrated about right now will be the very things at which we look back in the future with a great deal of gratitude. I remember when my teaching job was RIFed because of budget cuts. I was so heart-broken. Today I am so grateful for the opportunities I've had as a guest teacher to meet so many kids in the district, and mostly I'm grateful for the flexible schedule it has given me so that I can take care of my family. Let's stop being short-sighted and start embracing the place where we are TODAY.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Joel Osteen says that "one of the most important keys to a better life is to keep yourself happy, rather than trying to please everybody else." Too often we get out of balance and try to "fix" people and solve their problems for them. Years ago I read a book by Melody Beattie called CO-DEPENDENT NO MORE about trying to rescue people instead of turning attention to our own selves. I learned that I am not responsible for other people's happiness. I am only responsible for my own happiness. I have to set boundaries. We need to quit trying to be the keeper of the Universe. That's God's job. If someone around me is unhappy, I want to be caring and compassionate, but I don't want to become depressed with that person. On the other hand, if I am the one who is unhappy, I don't want to drag someone else down with me. I want to take responsibility for my own happiness. It is truly liberating to realize that I only need to follow my own heart. I want to be a giver, but that does not mean that I have to be a people pleaser. Solomon 1:6 says, "They have made me a keeper of the vineyards, but my own vineyard I have not kept." If we keep everyone happy but neglect our own selves, our energy will be drained and then no one will be happy. This new year I plan to less stressed by taking care of myself and my happiness so that I have a huge smile that spreads happiness to everyone else.