encouragement


I’m de-Christmasing the house. As much as I love Christmas (and believe me I do LOVE Christmas), I am looking forward to putting the busyness of the holidays behind me and returning to my regular routine. Even though all the outside trappings of Christmas will no longer be visible, I hope the spirit of Christmas will be visible all year long through my regular routine. How? You might ask, well …

As we know, Christmas is really about celebrating the birth of God’s Son, the long awaited Messiah, Jesus Christ. God sent His Son to bring light to a dark world. We celebrate His birthday one day a year on Christmas Day. Those of us who are Christ followers, however, can make Christmas last all 365 days per year. How?

Individuals who have experienced spiritual rebirth carry God’s Spirit, His light, inside us. That light comes with marching orders. We are to let His light shine in us and through us so we can light up a dark world. We allow God’s light to shine through us when we choose to love/give regardless of how we feel. Real love is a verb. It is a choice. It is selfless. It is choosing to do something for someone else regardless of the cost to self. It is not a feeling. It is an action. It is this love that brings light to a dark world. When we do that Christmas can last 365 days a year.

Chris Rice sings about this in his song Go Light your World. Here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsM5lt9tCFo

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Continuing to read Because of Bethlehem by Max Lucado. More favorite excerpts:

• History is not an endless succession of meaningless circles but a directed movement toward a great event. God has a timeline. And because of Bethlehem, we have an idea where we stand on it…We refuse to believe that this present world is the sum total of human existence. We celebrate the First Advent to whet our appetites for the Second. We long for the next coming.

• God made you on purpose with a purpose. He interwove calendar and character, circumstance and personality to create the right person for the right corner of the world, and then he paid the price to take you home.

• In the manger God loves you; through the cross God saves you. But has he taken you to his home? Not yet. He has work for you to do.

Excerpts from When Doing Isn’t Enough:

Waiting is not popular in our modern society. Immediate gratification is popular. We want what we want now, and we do everything possible to get whatever it is we want now and avoid waiting. Sometimes waiting is unavoidable though and we have no choice but to wait… God appears to like waiting and seems to require it of anyone who will be used by him, particularly those who will be used in a significant way.

Waiting on God means that you are willing to look to God for guidance and direction, and are willing to abide by his timing regarding the events in your life. It means accepting that God knows better than you do what is in your best interest. It means putting God in the driver’s seat of your life. Waiting on God requires surrendering to him.

In light of all of this though, waiting on God is not passive waiting. It is not helpless waiting. It is not unproductive waiting. Waiting on God is active waiting. Waiting on God requires a conscious decision to trust God and wait on him no matter what, to not let fear run your life and to live by faith, putting one foot in front of the other even when you can’t see the path.

Waiting on God also requires a clear understanding of what I can do and what I cannot do, what I have control over and what I do not have control over. God will not do for us what we can do for ourselves. We need to do what we can do, and leave to God the things we cannot do.

If one is to willingly agree to wait on God one first has to know God, the real God not a distorted image of God. The real God is love. He doesn’t have love. He doesn’t show love. He is love. It’s his character.

Trust is inherent in waiting. It’s easy to trust God when everything is going well for us, when our life circumstances and situations are in our favor. It’s not so easy to trust him when life seems to turn against us.

I am currently reading Lisa Bevere’s book Lioness Arising. The following excerpt particularly caught my attention: “Consider the word submission for a moment. What comes to mind? Probably Ephesians 5:22, about wives submitting to their husbands. Interestingly, many Christians have taken this verse and created an extreme and limiting definition for the word. I believe the word submission has been distorted beyond God’s intent for it. Many Christian women have believed their primary value lies in their ability to serve men. They have not realized that speaking in the church, respectfully voicing their opinions, or taking on the responsibility of a leadership role is serving. I heard a definition of submission that framed and aligned it with God’s plan for all Christians…Consider this: the prefix sub means under, and mission is an assignment.”

According to this definition then, submission means under assignment. I take this to mean assignment from God. Therefore, to live in submission means to be obedient to your assignment or purpose or calling from God.

Parenting is difficult. (That’s an understatement, wouldn’t you say?!)

I am sending this out to all parents who may be feeling frustrated, discouraged, worried, etc. I have found that when I’m upset, stressed, etc the best medicine for me is a good laugh. I therefore hope this will bring some laughter to any parents whose spirits need to be lightened.

I stumbled across this years ago. The title and the author are both unknown to me.

After creating heaven and earth God created Adam and Eve and the first thing He said was “Don’t!”
“Don’t what?” Adam replied.
“Don’t eat the forbidden fruit” God said.
“Forbidden fruit? We have forbidden fruit? Hey Eve, we have forbidden fruit!”
“No way!”
“Yes way.”
“DO NOT eat the fruit!” God said.
“Why?!”
“Because I’m your Father and I said so!” God replied, wondering why He hadn’t stopped creation after making the elephants.
A few minutes later God saw His children taking an apple break and was He ticked!
“Didn’t I tell you not to eat the fruit?” God, our first parent, asked.
“Uh huh,” Adam replied.
“Then why did you?” asked God.
“I don’t know,” said Eve.
“She started it!” said Adam.
“Did not!”
“Did too!”
“DID NOT!”

Having had it with the two of them God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve have children of their own. Thus, the pattern was set and it has never changed.

Whenever your children are out of control take comfort from the thought that even God’s omnipotence did not extend to His own children. If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give children wisdom and they haven’t taken it, don’t be hard on yourself. If God had trouble raising children what makes you think it would be a piece of cake for You?

I just finished reading Tim Tebow’s book Shaken. I liked it very much. Parts of it resonated with me on a deep level in a very affirming way.

Two of my favorite quotes from the book are:

o So many times we are paralyzed from forward movement because we hold ourselves down. We compare our journeys, our losses, our victories, our marriages, our jobs, our dreams, our families with everyone else’s. And in our minds, in some way, we fall short…When our self-worth crumbles, when we’re not feeling confident, when insecurities overwhelm us, we have to remember whose we are…remind yourself how much God loves you and that He has a unique purpose and plan for your life.

o Trophies don’t last. Awards come and go. Impressive titles move from one person to the next. But how we live can make an eternal impact.

I’m posting this as an encouragement for anyone who has a dream in their heart for a business or a ministry or anything, and is having a difficult time turning that dream into a reality in the world. Remember, anything worthwhile is not easy.

DON’T QUIT

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will

When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,

When the funds are low, and the debts are high,

And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,

When care is pressing you down a bit

Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

 

Life is strange with its twists and turns,

As everyone of us sometimes learns,

And many a person turns about

When they might have won had they stuck it out.

Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–

You may succeed with another blow.

 

Often the struggler has given up

When he might have captured the victor’s cup;

And learned too late when the night came down,

How close he was to the golden crown.

 

Success is failure turned inside out–

So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,

It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

Author Unknown

Some individuals who did not give up:

Abraham Lincoln failed in business three times and lost seven elections before becoming President of the United States.

Henry Ford failed and went broke 5 times before he succeeded.

After his first audition Fred Astaire received the following feedback from an MGM executive: “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”

Max Lucado’s first book was rejected by 14 publishers before finding one that would give him a chance.

Dr. Seuss’s first book was rejected by 27 publishers.

A so-called football expert once said of 2-time Super Bowl winning coach Vince Lombardi: “He possesses minimal football knowledge. Lacks motivation.”

NBA superstar Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Later in his career, when he was playing for the Chicago Bulls, he said: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost more than 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Albert Einstein wasn’t able to speak until he was four years old. Teachers said he would never amount to much.

Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lacking imagination and having no original ideas.

Thomas Edison was told by a teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything and that he should go into a field where he might succeed by virtue of his pleasant personality.

The Beatles were rejected by Decca Recording Studio who said “we don’t like their sound; they have no future in show business.”

Oprah Winfrey was demoted from her job as a news anchor because she “wasn’t fit for television.”

J.K. Rowling’s first manuscript, Harry Potter, was rejected by 12 publishers before one was willing to give her a chance. That publisher, however, told her to get a day job because she had little chance of making money in children’s books.

 

 

 

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