I can remember growing up and wanting to fit in. I never really gave my opinion about anything because I was afraid of controversy. I never really expressed my feelings because I wanted to agree with everyone else. That led me to start smoking, drinking and cussing. That led me to doing the things of the world rather than of God. I was raised in the church; however, I wanted to fit in with the world.

As I grew up, I continued to attempt to please others. It was hard. When I would please one person, another person would be hurt. When I would try to please them, another person would disagree. The more I strived to please others, the less good I felt about me.

There was even a point in my life when someone asked me if I ever had an opinion. They asked if I ever stood for anything. I was shocked that they even dared to ask. Because I did stand for something. I stood for the opinion of whoever was with me at the time. I agreed with them. I supported them. I did want they wanted us to do. Doesn’t that count for anything? I was hurt and then mad at myself for not standing for anything.

I think I had really decided that I didn’t care. I didn’t care about anything enough to stand for it. I wanted to be easy-going. I wanted to go with the flow. You can’t go with the flow and stand for something because that would stir things up. I was not a stirrer-upper. So all through my life, for over 40 years, I did what others thought was best.

I quit college and went to work. I got married because I was supposed to have children and a family. I got a job that I didn’t like. Everyone had so many plans for me I just stayed busy for them. I had forgotten about God. Well, not completely, but enough to push Him in the background of my life because I was so busy trying to do what I could to fit in and be liked. But what I was really doing was blending in so much that I wasn’t making a difference at all to anyone. Especially not to God.

Then a few years ago something changed. After trying to please so many people, I found myself alone with many messes that I had created along the way. I had financial troubles. I had relationship issues. I had problems in just about every part of my life. Everyone else had found someone who they wanted to be around more than me. I didn’t have friends. Only people who wanted things from me. I had made so many mistakes and done things I never dreamed I would ever do.

One morning I woke up like I always do. I woke up worried. Worried about life. Worried about family. Worried about money. That is the day I got on my knees and prayed. I asked God what I had done wrong. I asked Him how I could get back on track. I asked Him what He wanted me to do. And He answered. He told me to get back into His word. And I did. I began reading His word every morning and praying. I began writing.

Since then, I now stand for something. Since then, I now know what God wants me to do and am no longer concerned with what others think. I no longer am obsessed with the things of the world. I read His word every morning. We have conversations and He helps me write. He helps me share His word. He gives me direction. And no matter what anyone else may think, I am standing for Him now. My opinions are based on His word. My actions are based on His direction. My help comes from Him.

And when others tell me I need to leave His word out of my writings, I just keep doing as He tells me to do. And when others tell me to stop being so nice and good to others, I just keep doing as He tells me to do. And when others tell me to get involved in their worldly actions, I just keep doing as He tells me to do. I now stand for Him and my opinions are based on His word. And I am so thankful and grateful that He waited on me all these years to draw me close to Him again.

And He is waiting for you. Won’t you call on Him to draw you close to Him again?

“Draw Me Close To You”
Donnie McClurkin

Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear You say that I’m Your friend

You are my desire
And no one else will do
‘Cause nothing else can take Your place
To feel the warmth of Your embrace

Help me find a way
Bring me back to You
Bring me back, oh Jesus.

Want a closer relationship with God? Go to Him today and ask Him to draw you closer to Him. And He will.

UDT-Waiting_roomEver sat for a while in a doctor’s office or been waiting too long on something but you find yourself getting to know those around you while you wait? Sometimes you start up conversations, find you have things in common and enjoy the time even though you are being delayed in your day because you are waiting.

Our relationship with God is a lot that way. We wait for answers from Him about issues we have in our relationships, in our finances, in our careers or health. But while we are waiting, we have the opportunity to talk with Him and get to know Him better. If we choose to take advantage of our time while we are waiting to draw closer to Him, we will find that our waiting helped us to become stronger and we grew as a believer.

Next time we are waiting on an answer from God, let’s use that time as growth time where we did into God’s word, journal about our blessings, praise His name, do good for others and share His word. That will keep us busy while we are in the waiting room of life.

Write down three things you can do today to better know God, serve others and share His word with them.

Use today as a way to do something nice for someone who usually gets on your nerves.

Know that God is with you all day today and be open to hearing His voice.

Read and repeat a Bible verse all day and ask God to reveal His meaning to you.

Pick up an extra gift for someone who is in your life that you normally overlook and thank them for what they do.

Write down ten small things you can do this month that will make a big difference to someone else.

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After three days in the mountains with some new friends, I have resolved that we can have close encounters of a third kind when we choose to let go and let God be in the midst of things. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is the close encounter I am referring to.

I had a great encounter this weekend with seven other women (six who I did not know until this weekend). We met in the mountains on Friday. We ate, shared, ate, laughed, ate, relaxed, ate, shopped and ate during those three days. Our time together was precious and made me realize the importance of true friendship. I had the pleasure of sitting back and watching these women who were friends in high school reunite and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

I didn’t have many friends growing up. It seemed we moved too much due to my father being in the Air Force. So once he retired and we settled down, I began to make friends. The friends I made, however, were poor choices on my part because of my shyness and insecurity. I was eager to please and didn’t really understand what true friendship was. So for many years I lived with the fact that friends will let you down, use you and only be with you if they had nothing better to do.

As I grew older, I found out that there are true friends. There are true friends who you can count on no matter what. These friends are there to support, encourage and laugh with. These friends are positive, motivating and inspiring. True friends don’t bring others down. They lift them up.

What a great time we can have with our friends when we are looking to help one another and not pull each other down. There are friends who we can rely on. There are friends who we can share with. There are friends who will take our encouraging words and use those words to make great things happen. There are great godly friends who can help when you need it and who you can share with without judgment.

If you haven’t had a chance to encounter with great godly friends, that is my challenge to you. Find some people who you know or you don’t know very well and decide to spend time with them to encourage, motivate and learn from each other so you can experience a close encounter of the third kind.

 

Sleeping doesn’t always occur when our eyes are closed and we are in bed. Sleeping can occur as we walk through life. Missed opportunities are due to being asleep. When we forget about our purpose and decide to sleep through life, we are not only missing out on opportunities but we are not helping others the way we should.

When we sleep through life, three things happen: we lose focus, we get distracted, and we become selfish.

The first issue with sleeping through life is that we lose focus. Where we were alert and awake with what we needed to do to stay on track, we become lazy and uncaring. We lose focus on the reasons we began to live on purpose. We lose focus because things don’t seem to be going as we planned them to go and we began to look at other things to bring us satisfaction.

Second, we often get distracted. It isn’t that we don’t want to do what needs to be done but other things come up where we have to get off task. We are tossing and turning in our sleep so we can rest as well as we would like to. We are distracted with worry and doubt about what we are doing, with guilt about what things we are not getting done and with impatience that could lead us off track seeking more immediate but temporary pleasures.

Finally, when we become selfish we forget the reason for us pursuing our purpose is to help others. We fall asleep when we want to and get up when we want not caring about the needs of others. We seek the things that will help us rather than helping them. We seek recognition from anyone so we can feel a sense of accomplishment but we have to be careful we aren’t seeking selfish gain.

Those who choose to sleep through life for whatever reasons are simply making excuses not to be responsible. We all do need our sleep but choosing to sleep through life rather than take action will lead to a life not fulfilled, a dream not lived out and an opportunity to help others missed.

While the world sleeps, let’s not get caught up in what is making them sleep. Let’s continue working toward the goal God has put before us. Let’s continue to run the race so we don’t lose focus, get distracted or become selfish which could cause us to lay dormant and sleep with the rest of the world.

What is keeping you from focusing today?
What distractions continue to cause you to not get things done?
What selfish things have you done rather than working for God?

Dear Lord, help us today not to sleep. Help us to remain awake and alert seeking out what good You call us to do. Show us Your way, Lord. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

As we watheadshot Frances A Plusch small children play, they go from one thing to another just wanting to touch something because it is there in front of them. They see things with new eyes and nothing to them is old and boring. They love change and learning how to do things. They delight in showing off what new thing they have learned. They aren’t afraid of doing something that will help them learn and grow.

As we grow older, we begin to become comfortable. We get used to certain foods. We get accustomed to doing certain things every day. Our routine sets in and we enjoy the safety of doing thing the same way. It feels good. It feels safe. It feels comfortable.

What happens after that is we tend to shy away from new things. We shy away from change. We shy away from learning. We stop growing. We stop doing different things. We soon become boring and lazy. We soon lose that fun and spontaneity we had as children. Life sets in. Work is a hassle. Bills come. People get sick. Life gets hard.

If only we could return to that state and mindset of a child, where everything is new and exciting. What happens to us to make us turn from loving life to just living it.

We need to return to God. We need to look at every task we do as new – whether we have done it once or a thousand times before God gives us the ability to have a routine but He doesn’t want us to make it a routine that is boring and lifeless. He wants us to live life with purpose and know that all we do is for Him.

We can decide to get up every morning and believe in God. We can believe He will be with us through day and we can decide to take on every challenge and every boring routine task as an opportunity to praise Him and have true joy we are able to do what He has allowed us to do.

When we decide to do all we do as if we were doing it for God, we will have purpose. We will have meaning in life. We will have love and excitement to share with others. God’s plan for us is not to simply go through the routine of life. His plan for us is to have life and have it more abundantly.

John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (NKJV)

What change can you make today that will give more meaning to your mundane tasks?

1 Timothy 6 6There are so many people who don’t like being around positive people. People who are always happy, always looking on the bright side of life and encouraging others. It really surprises me there are some who find positive people annoying. However, I can think of a few reasons why some may feel negatively toward positive people:

Reason #1 – Positive Outbursts

Positive people smile. They do. They smile a lot. Some of them burst into songs or whistles or shouts. They can’t seem to contain their happiness so they have to let it out. That annoys those who are wanting to be focused on their problems. The people who are dwelling on all the issues in their lives and worried about this or that don’t want to be interrupted by a positive outburst.

Reason #2 – Always Grateful

Positive people are grateful. They look on the sunny side of life. They see opportunity in all things. When others say how bad things are, the positive person says it will be okay. The positive person mentions all the good things in the situation. The positive person talks of blessings and opportunities to learn. That annoys those who are really trying to be in the moment of ungratefulness. They want to be discontent and upset about the situation and don’t want the positive people to bring up good things which will distract them from the bad.

Reason #3 – Excited Energy

Positive people have energy. They are excited about anything. The sun is shining. Yay! The weather is turning from summer to fall. Can’t wait! The birds are singing. Woo hoo! Isn’t that annoying to most negative people? They don’t want to focus on the good and be energized by the little things in life. They want to stay focused on the big problems around them in their work, in their homes and in the world. How can anyone be energetic and excited about such little trivial things when the world seems to be crashing down around them?

Yes, negative people tend to stay away from those who are positive. And if they are forced to be in the same room with them or to run into them at an event or even have to work with them, they will turn up their negativity dial a little higher so they can be sure they stay negative and don’t catch that positive vibe from those positive people.

It’s really funny to watch a negative person encounter a positive one. They negative person tends to look at the positive one as if he or she is crazy. First comes the stare that says why are you so happy? Then comes the grunt when greeted by the positive person. Finally, the funniest thing about the encounter is how the negative person is determined not to smile and often avoids eye contact.

Observing the traits of both positive and negative people is really interesting. I can tell you first hand I have been both negative and positive in my life, at times, but I tend to be the one who looks on the bright side of things.

That is why I know how those negative people like to avoid me. And it’s okay because I am sure that one day, they will choose to live on the sunny side of life. I just know it! One day they will count their blessings, smile, and be energetic! But until then, I can continue to allow happiness and joy fill my life so when it overflows it will be shared with those who need it. And I know you can, too!

Ephesians 5:18b-20 “Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NLT)

sea-of-tranquility_lWhen it comes to goal setting, I am probably up near the top of the list of people who regularly set goals. I set them daily but don’t always achieve them all; however, I am an optimist of some sort believing I can do more than most. I will never stop being that way because I want to achieve more in life and the only way to do that, in my opinion, is to set big goals…and lots of them….and to review them and take steps toward them every day.

Earlier this week, during quiet time, I was reflecting on what I had done the day before. I had a busy day at work. I was out of town. I was out of my normal routine and extremely tired last night so I didn’t get much accomplished. I was thinking about what I did do yesterday and how I could improve today. I decided that if I would do at least ten things today moving me toward my goals that I would be content. These ten things wouldn’t have to be huge. Some may take only a minute while others may take an hour.

I seemed pretty pleased with my decision and began praying about it. God seemed to agree about doing ten and He already had the ten in mind. He said okay, here are ten things you can today that will bring you success. Here are ten things you can do today that will keep you focused. Here are ten things you can do today that will please me and help others. And here they are:

1. You must not have any other god but me.

2. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

3. You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

4. Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

5. Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

6. You must not murder.

7. You must not commit adultery.

8. You must not steal.

9. You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.

10. You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.  Exodus 20:3-17 (NLT)

I smiled as God told me these things. He had pretty clear goals for me. He reminded me where my focus should be. It was not necessarily to be on getting things done for the world in the sense that I was thinking. He reminded me of my priorities in putting Him first.

I had been guilty of some of these things in the past…beginning with number one. I had even taken some of the more lightly than others not realizing that I needed to really think about my daily decisions and focus. God has reminded me that I already have ten daily goals to follow through on every day, all day, in my thoughts, words and actions.

I know we are a goal-oriented world but let’s not forget of the goals God gives us in His Ten Commandments. Those are the daily goals we need to put first in our lives. Then He will show us how to carry them out as we share His word with others. Let’s make sure our goals are the same as God’s goals are for us today.

Photo credit: frankhg / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

numbersI have always enjoyed math. Numbers are always easier to read to me than words which surprises me to say because I do like to write as well. But there is just something about numbers that motivates me. It is possibly the power of numbers and the fact that numbers play a part in our lives daily.

There is power in numbers in our finances. We all have heard of compounding interest. How quickly the figures multiply when we leave our money in an investment over years.

There is power in numbers in our health. We look at numbers when we measure our weight, cholesterol, blood pressures, etc. We use those numbers to calculate how healthy we are and determine what changes we need to make.

There is power in numbers in our time. We only have so much time in a day so we stay busy getting things done, watching the clock and setting goals to accomplish in a certain number of days.

There is power in numbers in our relationships. We know someone who knows others who know others and the number of people we can reach out to can multiply just as quickly as compounding interest.

As we all experience numbers in our daily lives, the most impactful experience I have had lately is with relationships. Over the past year, I have met so many interesting and helpful people who want to give more than they want to get.

Just in the past three months, I have joined forces with at least 20 people to determine a way we can help others together. This joint venture, as we call it, allows us to multiply our efforts into something greater than ourselves. It is wonderful to experience and powerful to watch.

If you want to more about joint ventures and how you can multiply your efforts through joining others who want to make a difference, there is a free webinar coming on August 29. Rich and Milana have made a huge impact pulling together people who want to help others and you can join us as well.

For information about the webinar, go here: http://tiny.cc/mhww1w

reset button

 

My computer, over time, tends to slow down. It becomes sluggish and takes forever to pull up what I need. When that happens, I know it is time to clean it out. Recently, I had to set my computer back to the factory setting because it was taking so long and even getting stuck at times where I had to cut it off and back on again.

Life can slow us down at times. There will be situations in our lives that seem to make us sluggish where we don’t feel like getting out of bed. There will be times when we need a break and need to shut down. We may even need to be totally cleansed from all the bad things in our lives so we can be reset and made new.

I can’t see any other way to be made new again other than reaching out to God. He wants us to be clean and restored every day. He wants us to die to self and live for Him.

Write down what things you need to get rid of in your life. You know there are things that should be removed because they are hindering you from doing God’s will. You know there are things that are causing you to be sluggish and clumsy. Don’t be afraid to admit these things. When you admit them before God and ask Him to cleanse you, every day, you will begin to feel free again and have the energy to do His will by obeying Him and helping others.

Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” (NLT)

I get a lot more done now on my computer every morning since I reset it to factory settings. All the old files and viruses were wiped away. The computer comes up in a matter of seconds instead of minutes. The programs move more quickly. Just think what we can do if we did a reset every day. A brand new fresh day is waiting for us where we can begin again doing what God has called us to do.

Action Steps:
1. Write down things that are slowing you down.
2. List the top three things keeping you from doing God’s will.
3. Decide today to turn away from those things of the world.
4. Ask God to forgive you and cleanse you so you will be reset to freedom.

Do you have the time? Do you every really have any time? What are you always busy doing? What do you do when you get up first thing in the morning? Shower? Coffee? Race through the house, jump in the car and fly to work? At work you probably have so much to do that you can’t possible get it all done in a day. Then you hurry home for family time where there is no time for anything but doing the routine things that get your ready for bed which starts your day all over again.

What if you could get better control of your time? What if you could, without a doubt, be more excited about the day…all day long? It’s all about a fraction of your life. That fraction is 10%….one tenth. If you have your priorities right, you may know where we are going with this. The first ten percent of your day should go to God. If we are to, as the Bible says, store up our treasures in Heaven, we should give to God a tenth (or more) of what He has given to us.

What is one-tenth of a day? It is 2.4 hours. God wants the first part of what we have. We know that He is able to multiply what we give Him. You may think well I just don’t have any extra time. That is exactly why you should give your first time to Him. 2.4 hours a day. That is two hours and twenty minutes. What would you do during these 2.4 hours?

Start with prayer asking God to bless this time and give you wisdom. Then listen to Him. You can hear Him through His word…reading His word, meditating on a song or a scripture. Ask Him to show you His plan for you. Then begin writing. Write what you feel. Write what He tells you. He will show you His plan for you. Use this time to read books and strengthen your skills that will help you to develop God’s plan for you. He has a plan for everyone. If you don’t know His plan for you, ask Him. Believe that He will answer. Then take action. It all starts with 24 x .10 = 2.4.

I changed my schedule at work so I can spend more time in the morning with God. I tried it for a week. Great things began to happen. God has shown me so much. And I am excited about getting up every morning. I focus on my top values in life which are God, my health, my relationships and my finances. I pray to God to help me in these areas. I review my goals in each of these areas along with the goals for God’s purpose in my life. Every day I get stronger. I see God all around me during the day. I see great things happen that only He could make happen. It is amazing the ideas that God has put in my head this past week. I am overwhelmed with His love and blessings.

Try it for a week. Get up earlier and change your start time at work to come in a little later. You will be surprised how God will work in your life…if you talk to Him before anyone else…every day.

P.S. If you don’t know where to start to find God’s purpose in your life, I have a great amount of resources which can help you. My passion is to help others find God’s purpose in their lives. Please allow me to help you. You will be helping me as well to fine-tune God’s purpose for me in my life.

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