Saturday, August 20, 2016

Stepping Away From Our Fears

Fears.  What do they do?  They mock, they tease, but most of all they hinder.  They hinder from moving, the heart from loving, the timid from trying, the ashamed from expecting...

What are your fears?  What are you holding on to as truths that may be nothing more than smoke screens to a better reality and desired future?  I've heard that an acronym for fear is

F - False
E - Evidence
A - Appearing
R - Real

I would like to say that it's easy to shake off fear like a coat or a worn blanket, but that's not always the case.  Yet, we can always overcome fear by just trying.  Make small, concerted efforts to try the very thing you fear.  For example, would you like to sing before crowds but whenever you try you can't find your voice?  Begin by singing out loud while you're walking around outside.  Not boisterously mind you, but loud enough to be heard by people you pass by.  Once you're comfortable with that, find a place where you can sing karaoke.  Then you'll take the next step from there, and the next, until you're finally singing before crowds.

Every fear can be conquered this way.  If taking a huge, tremendous action to face the fear doesn't work for you, then you can find a small step to take towards conquering that fear.  For the more we conquer our fears the more dynamic we will become.

And isn't that what we're seeking?  To become the dynamic individuals we believe ourselves to be?

Have I not command you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discourage, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

For another post on fear read Let Go Of Your Fears.

Monday, March 21, 2016

It Takes Time, Part 2

I wrote in a post back in 2009 that change takes time.  Period.  However, when I wrote it my expectation was that "time" would be a short period of 1 to 3 years and definitely no more than 5 years.  The irony is that one of the examples that I mentioned--the growth of a tree--can take a minimum of 10-15 years for fast growing trees and 20-30 for slow growing ones.  (These years refer to a red maple according to Better Homes and Gardens).

Where am I going with this?  Right now I'm reminded of Abraham in the Bible.  God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky.  Yet, Abraham did not have a child with his wife Sarah until 25 years after that promise.  That was 25 years of waiting for a dream to become a reality.

What goal or dream or you waiting on that hasn't come to fruition?  Don't be hard on yourself because it's been five or more years and your expected change hasn't happened.  So I'll repeat what I said 7 years ago back in 2009.  Be patient with yourself during your time of change.  Every step forward, no matter how long it takes to make that one step, is a step closer to where you want to be.

And let us not be weary in welldoing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:9 KJV)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pray, Aim High, and Stay Focused

I heard an illustration by my pastor about a man and his family who were without food.  They searched their home for anything to eat but found nothing except an old rifle and three bullets.  At that moment the father determined that he would the use the rifle and ammunition to get food for his family that night.  So with the rifle and ammunition he ventured for the woods.

In the woods, the first thing the father saw was a squirrel.  He took aim and fired but missed.  Then he saw a rabbit.  Once again he aimed and fired but he missed the rabbit.  Now the father only had one bullet so he prayed, “Lord, I only have one bullet.  Please help me to bring food home to my family.”  The Lord’s response to him was, “Pray, aim, and stay focused.”
Shortly thereafter the man saw a turkey and a deer.  He chose to aim for the deer because it would provide more meat for his family.  As the man took aim he heard a noise near his feet.  He looked down and saw a snake that was ready to attack.  Fearing the snake, the man stopped aiming for the deer and set his aim on the snake.  Just when he was about to shoot the man heard the Lord say, “What did I tell you?”  Deciding to trust in the Lord the man prayed, aimed at the deer, and took his last shot.  Not only did he hit the deer but the same bullet ended up killing the turkey.  On top of that, the butt of the rifle fell and killed the snake.  Finally, to top it all off, the force of the blast from the last bullet pushed the father backwards into a lake causing fish to get caught in his pockets.

Pray, aim, and stay focused.  What would have happened if the father would have stayed focused on his troubles (in this case, the snake) instead of his goal (the deer)?  We can relate this story to life where the snake represents our troubles while the deer represents our goals.  Take a moment to think on your life.  What has happened when you’ve taken your eyes off of your goals or dreams and placed them on the hardships and difficulties faced to reach them?  Stop focusing on your troubles.  Instead pray to God to give you the strength to reach for (i.e. aim) and stay focused on them.
The final outcome may be beyond your expectations.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

It's the Roots That Are Important

It's been a while since I posted something, so here goes.

I was in a coffee shop today, and a man--who happened to be a pastor--was relating a story.  He asked a botanist to plant a white pear tree in the yard.   It was a pretty tree that stood about 5' 10" tall, but once it was planted the botanist began to cut off EVERY branch.

The pastor wondered about this since leaves are needed for photosynthesis.  So he questioned the botanist.  The botanist's response was, "The roots are the most important."

Times of pruning are tough.  Whether you believe in God or not, life has a way of stripping you and the strip down is no fun.  (That's the main reason I had stopped blogging.)  However, if we take the time to reflect, we can find that our character has been strengthened, and we are able to encourage others in ways we could not before.

1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.  (John 15:1-2, 5, KJV)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Thought on Faith

"A faith that has not been tested is a faith that cannot be trusted." - Bishop Neil C. Ellis

10 For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
11 Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.
12 Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. (Psalms 66:10-12 KJV)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Excerpt from Post "How I Rebounded From a Major...Setback" by Crystal Paine

I read the following in a guest blog post on Michael Hyatt's website. The guest poster's name is Crystal Paine, and she is the blogger for Money Saving Mom. The topic of the post is rebounding from a business setback, but some of our statements also apply to rebounding from setbacks in life. I'm only posting those excerpts, so to read the post in its entirety click here.
I had to go back to the why behind what I’m doing. If I don’t know why I’m doing something, if there isn’t heart and purpose behind it, when things get tough, it will be hard to stick with it.

The past few weeks, I’ve spent time mulling over all the reasons I started in the first place. It wasn’t so I could build a large platform or have a thriving Facebook Page (Facebook Pages didn’t even exist when I started!).

No, it was so I could help people find practical ways to save money and ultimately, experience the freedom and blessing that comes from living with intention.

Reminding myself of the why behind the what has really changed my perspective, renewed my enthusiasm, given me a burning drive to continue on—and maybe to resurrect some of the types of posts/series that I used to write when the blog was still in its early stages.
28 For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, does not first sit down and calculate the cost [to see] whether he has sufficient means to finish it?
29 Otherwise, when he has laid the foundation and is unable to complete [the building], all who see it will begin to mock and jeer at him,
30 Saying, This man began to build and was not able (worth enough) to finish. (Luke 14:28-30 Amplified Bible)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

It Happens a Step At a Time

I read this in a devotional on Joyce Meyer's website. It's a part of her 3030 Challenge. The challenge is to spend 30 minutes a day praying and reading God's Word for the next 30 days. To read the entire devotional click here.

Excerpt from Discipline Is Not a Dirty Word
You see, although today we can microwave a meal, there’s no such thing as “microwave Christianity.” Actually, I like to call God’s process “The Law of Gradual Growth.” Why? Because little by little, as we make right choices, He delivers us from our enemies and takes us where we need to be.

Yes, in the beginning, disciplining yourself will be difficult. It won’t feel good and you won’t like it. But every time you make a choice to do the right thing, the next time it gets a little easier. And you get one step closer to your goal.