Thursday, November 25, 2010

be thankful...

be thankful. It's Thanksgiving, so give thank to God for all His blessings.

Make your list of blessings and thank God for all that He has done for you and with you. That's it. Be thankful and grateful and blessed.

So, for today I will be thankful - for everything! Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

let the walls come down...

let the walls come down. So many of us don't let the world see all of us. We want to put on a good front and only expose the very best parts of ourselves, even from those who are supposed to be closest to us.

For today, let the walls come down. With your spouse, a trusted friend, a loved parent - whomever - unmask one hidden part of you that you've never shared. Maybe it's an insecurity, maybe it's a terrible experience that hurt you, maybe it's a bad choice you made that impacted your life, maybe it's just the need to cry because you're so tired of being brave and strong and you just need to let it out emotionally without saying a word. Maybe it's even a secret ambition that you've been afraid others will mock. Let yourself be cleansed and freed by the experience. Being perfect isn't your job - that belongs to God - being true to yourself is. You don't have to pretend you are something that you aren't. If someone only cares about the "public" you, then they don't really love you.

So, for today let the walls come down. You will most likely find that the person you confide in feels honored and will admire you in a whole new light. They will see you as even more beautiful than you already are because you are genuine and real. Inner beauty is a different standard than society's version of pretty. Inner beauty has greater depth, more purity, and eternal significance. Let your inner beauty shine today.

Monday, November 22, 2010

share my story...

share my story. Share my testimony. Testimony? That's a word that tends to put some Christians in discomfort. It sounds so precise and structured and factual. Am I really well-versed enough in the teachings of Christ to give a testimony?

Yes, you are. This isn't about being a scholar, it's about sharing. Just talking with a friend or family member about what God has done for you. It's simple statements of "your" facts, "your" truth. Has God given you more peace? Do you feel comforted by His love? Do you feel guided by His hand? Do you no longer feel alone or confused? You don't have to be a preacher and you don't have to have all the answers. You just have to speak. You can do that. Just tell someone what God means to you, what He has done for your life, how He has helped you. That's it. It's that easy.

So, for today I will share my story. I will rejoice in telling someone about the blessings and love God has given me. I will just state "my" facts and I will pray that God can use my story to touch the heart of my friend/family member and bless them as much as He has blessed me.

Friday, November 19, 2010

let my light shine...

let my light shine. It's Friday. The end of the work week and the beginning of the weekend. Most people love Fridays because we get a break from some of the stresses and pressures of the world. So, while we start decompressing today - let's remember to still make sure that we let our light shine.

No matter what you are doing tonight and for the weekend, let your light shine so that all your good, decent, wonderful qualities come through. Jesus asked us to be His light on the earth, so make sure your light is shining on "high beam." In all your actions today let His mercy, His grace, His forgiveness, His caring, His joy, His tenderness, His eloquence, His patience, His consistency, His strength, and His love shine through you for all the world to see. You have no idea how your light may affect the life of someone else. Your politeness, kindness, support or even just a smile may actually change someone's world (and brighten yours). Don't underestimate His powers when He works through the light shining from you!

So, for today I will let my light shine. I will remember all the blessings I have and reflect God's beauty to the world. I will walk tall and proud, confident and joyful. I will smile, wave and be kind. I will feel His light shining through me. I will remember I am His representative today and I will honor that position and shine!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

walk through the fire...

walk through the fire. Life can be filled with a lot of hurt, suffering and discouragement. Sometimes life seems to be hammering down on us every day in new ways that are overwhelming and devastating. Where do we find hope?

The bible says that if we walk with the Lord through the fires of life, we will not be burned. That means two things to me. 1) I've got to keep walking despite the conditions, and 2) I will make it to the other side. The first point is key - keep walking in faith. The verse doesn't say that you won't feel the heat, that you won't smell the fumes, you won't sweat, you won't almost succumb to the polluted air caused by the fire - it only says you will not be burned. So, I may feel the heat, I may get choked up by the fumes, I may stumble in the black clouds caused by the raging fire - but I will make it through the fire intact if I keep walking! God is walking with me and as long as I keep moving, He will make sure that He gets me to the other side with no permanent damage. I will not be burned!

So, for today I will walk through the fire. I will praise Him in the heat. I will see Him in the smoke. And, I will thank Him when I make it to the other side without being burned.

Monday, November 15, 2010

be ok with just being ok...

be o.k. with just being o.k. Do you ever have "blah" days? Do you sometimes lack inspiration or excitement during your day? How does that make you feel?

For me, when I am having a blah day I tend to beat myself up and tell myself that I should be in a better mood because of how blessed I am. And I do know that I'm blessed! So when I can't shake my blahs I begin to feel even worse for not being grateful or thankful enough. I also then examine why I have not set/reached new goals yet or changed my life in some significant way. It's amazing how hard we can be on ourselves. If our friend was down in the dumps, we would try to cheer them up with positive remarks - but when we feel a little low it's like we dig a deeper hole instead. So today I'm not going to beat myself up. I'm not going to make it worse. I'm just going to be o.k. with being o.k. I would love to always have the energy and inspiration to float through my day in praise and thankfulness, but I am not that perfect (not even close) and sometimes I only feel o.k. instead of terrific. And I think that's allowed sometimes.

So for today I will be o.k. with just being o.k. I won't make comparisons and examinations of the meaning of life today. I will just be o.k. with being o.k. and know that God will find the opportunities to give me whatever it is I may need on His time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

be grateful...

be grateful. Today is Veteran's Day. As an appropriate tribute I thought it was important to reiterate these thoughts of gratitude. I will be grateful that I am blessed to live in America. With all its' faults, failures and many times confused and conflicted priorities, I will be grateful.

Grateful that God touches and blesses our country. Grateful that men and women across this country give of themselves in service to protect and provide for ME! I am a stranger to them, but they willingly make sacrifices and serve with pride and honor. I will be grateful today that the core values that matter are cherished and protected. I will be grateful for the hearts that serve, have served, and have died so that I may laugh, cry, work, play and pray in peace and freedom. So instead of spending your time complaining and focusing on what you think is wrong with our society and this country - take a good look around and be grateful today.

Everything is temporary and freedom and peace could disappear tomorrow. So, for today be grateful!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

be available...

be available. A friend recited a wonderful quote during one of our bible study sessions. She said, "God doesn't care about your ability, He wants your availability."

Being available to God - that doesn't sound too hard does it? I know many of us have the notion that God uses special people with special talents to fulfill His purposes and work here on earth. And if that in fact were true, then it's easy to get by with saying, "I'm just a regular person with regular talents, if any, so He couldn't possibly need to use me." But the truth of the matter is, that it's God's power and talents that shine through in any situation through any person. The glory belongs to Him, so He doesn't need you to be anything other than available. We are open vessels that, if made available to Him, He will fill with unique purposes and gifts. If we are available, He can shape us into the perfect tools needed for His particular plans. So, all we have to do is just be there. Be open to the opportunities that come our way. We only need to be available and He will do all the rest. Understanding that makes this a very easy thing to do.

So, for today I will be available. I will be open to unexpected opportunities that come up and allow myself to be used by God. I won't question my abilities or confidence, I will just accept that I'm in the right place at the right time and jump in - God will handle the rest.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

watch for the slow fade...

watch for the slow fade. Relationships rarely crumble in a day. You have to watch for the slow fade.

This can be with any relationship you have - friendships, marriages, interactions with your kids, and your relationship with God. When a relationship seemingly blows up one day, the first question is, "did you see any signs of change - did you notice anything different?" Many times people say, "no, I thought things were fine." But if they are honest and really take a good look, there were signs. Maybe "fine" was a downgrade from good, and good a downgrade from great, and great a downgrade from perfect. Usually there's a slow fade that inch by inch destroys your relationships. Little deviations don't seem significant at first, but the repetition of them can leave you all alone. Maybe you start talking less, maybe you spend less time together, maybe you begin to forget to be polite, maybe you start to have lots of other priorities. It can start off very simply and God can be the easiest relationship to fade out - you miss church one Sunday because you didn't want to miss the big game. The next Sunday, you have a project due at work on Monday and need to focus. The next Sunday, you're exhausted and think you need the extra rest and God will understand. You stop praying, you don't pick up your bible anymore, you start hanging out with those guys who "aren't so bad", etc....Slow fade.... Are you in a pattern of slow fade right now? What relationship are you backing away from? Which relationship that used to mean so much to you is now taking a back seat? Examine your daily routine, compare it to last month, last year... and figure out if you're letting someone slip through your fingers. Maybe they are letting you slip away. If you don't want that relationship destroyed and gone, stop the slow fade. Rebuild that relationship one day at a time.

So, for today I will watch for the slow fade. I will evaluate my routine within the context of the relationships that I claim are most important to me. I will spot the signs that create distance and disharmony and I will work toward rebuilding that relationship. I don't want to wake up one day and say, "What happened? I thought everything was fine." Change that fine back into "great" before it's too late.

Monday, November 1, 2010

be a friend...

be a friend. We all have friends right? What kind of friend are we though? What's your definition...

Through a great group of friends, I have learned that speaking openly and honestly is one of the most important attributes of our friendship. I have lots of people I know. But I don't really "know" them and they definitely do not "know" me. Why? Because I have always been a private person about the true struggles, difficulties and emotions I've gone through in my life. I guess I haven't felt comfortable enough, trusted enough, and I've worried about being judged. What I have learned is that if I feel that way with someone who is supposed to be a friend, they really aren't a friend - maybe an acquaintance, maybe a pal, but not a friend. And maybe if I feel that way with them, they feel the same about me. So neither of us are providing the other with the amazing support and love that a true friend can provide. This realization has transformed dramatically my definition of friend and I want to create and strengthen that bond with the people I dearly love and consider true friends. I have been blessed with a small intimate group of people who are my "friends." I know a lot of people and I like a lot of people, but these true "friends" allow me to speak my mind, to voice my troubles, and they support, correct and encourage me without judgement. They have a genuine interest in what's best for me and I for them. It's not always easy to be honest and open with others. There can be discomfort or unease, but true friendship works beyond that thin layer and goes deeper to the heart of who we are, who we want to be, and what God plans for us. For that I am so grateful. My friends see beyond my weaknesses and transgressions. They see my heart, see my efforts and they see God's light shining through me. That compassion and love are immeasurable.

So, for today I will be a friend. Now that I better understand what a real friendship involves I will strive to remain open, honest, compassionate and forgiving. I will be myself - all the good and all the bad - and I will embrace my friends for who they are - all the good and all the bad. I know that God has placed me in the life of this other person for a reason and I will not shy away from being vulnerable with them, courageous with them, disciplined with them, prayerful with them and blessed with them.