Choose Love

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Choose Love when your enemy spits in your face
criticizes you and calls you harsh names
Choose Love when hatred feels like a fiery flame
seeking to destroy you and your name
Choose Love when everyone else is choosing to hate
with excuses that seek to justify their pain
Choose Love when every door is closing to you
you can open a door with kindness to a stranger caught aloof
Choose Love when your soul is in pain
when loving seems to be all in vain
Choose Love when the world seems calm
and when life serenades over you like a pillowy balm
Choose Love when the sun sets on your season
and you have to find in hard work a brand new meaning
Choose Love when there is no friend in sight
and you find yourself crying through sleepless nights
Choose Love when it all closes in like a storm
and you’re left with a sadness like never before.
Choose Love when it’s hard and not easy to do
in choosing you’ve selected the greatest option for you
Choose Love when a day turns into a night
and the hardest thing to do is just stay alive
Choose Love when no one believes in the truth
listen closely Love is rooting and cheering for you
Choose Love when it’s not popular or in style
you’ll find it’s always the better choice to go the second mile
Choose Love when it’s hard to persevere
when the going gets tough and the end is near
Choose Love when things don’t go your way
there’s a plan for you just wait and pray
Choose Love when you’re ready to give up
hang in there a little longer – beyond the corner is the mountaintop

For All the Times You Hear “I Can’t”

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For all the times you hear “I can’t”

Stop for a moment and consider the ant

watch how steadily and diligently he moves

to carry up to 3 times his weight over hills and grooves

you won’t hear him whimper or complain

but slowly, slowly he keeps his pace

no matter how small each item seems

it all adds up in the greater scheme

For all the times you hear “I can’t”

Consider still the smallest plant

that starts as a seed buried underground

concealed in darkness it can’t be found

yet diligently it extends its roots

then out from the ground one day it moves

just a little glimpse of green but everyday

you’ll see the plant growing in the sun rays

For all the times you hear “I can’t

Consider this little chant

“I can, I can, and yes I will

onward I’ll tarry across rivers and uphills

until I’ve reached the end of the race

I can, I will for all my days.”

You can, you will, upward, onward still!

How to Maximize Time in a Busy Life

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Life is not slowing down. If anything it feels like it’s speeding up. We are all perpetually busy people with our work, families, hobbies and duties. Often it can feel like there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish what you’d really like to do. So, how do you combat this feeling and maximize every moment of your day?

Wake up Early: There’s a lot of truth to the saying, “the early bird gets the worm.” Although waking up early may be bad news for the non-morning people let’s face it, the wee hours of the morning are precious. It’s quiet, the world is still and most people you know are still sleeping. That means you’ll have 2-3 hours (depending what time you wake up) of dedicated time to get a lot done. Imagine if you could workout, study a new language and prep your dinner all before you even start the workday? Guess what? You can!
Make the Most of Commuting Time: whether you drive to work in an hour of traffic, coast along on the subway, ride the bus or walk, there is still always a way to utilize this precious time. If you’re driving or walking, consider listening to an informative podcast or listen to an audio book. If you’re taking the bus or subway, catch up on your reading, study to grow in your career or practice a new language on an app. Commuting time is precious time that you’ll never get back again so make the most of it. It’s better than road rage or subway sadness.
Make a List: The benefit of making a list is to outline everything you need to do, manage your progress and set realistic goals. Try making a brief list on a notecard and posting it to your desktop, dashboard or wherever you’ll be sure to see it throughout the day.
Know When to Say No and When to Say Yes (even to your boss): As hard as it may be, sometimes you have to say no. Even if it is something you can do or enjoy doing, you have to make smart decisions for yourself in order to be able to give your best to each task. Saying no includes saying no to your boss. From experience I’ve found that when I’ve been asked to do several things by my boss, and it seems like they keep piling more work on my desk, I tell them, “I’d be glad to work on this. Right now I’m working on the employee schedule, does this item you’re requesting take priority?” Letting your boss know what your working on, that you’re willing to take on more work, but asking for the priority level of the assigned tasks sets you up to win. In some cases your boss may have forgot what you were originally working on and they may ask someone else to do the new task. But unless you’re honest and diligent about prioritizing your tasks, you might find yourself drowning in stacks of unecessary papers.
Balance: The cold hard truth could be that you’re working too much. If you have no energy or desire to do anything before or after work, you should assess your work life/balance. Is it just like that for a few weeks for a busy time of year or do you find yourself going into the office early and coming home late every day of the year. Take the time to assess whether or not a healthy balance exists for you.
At the end of the day, time is the one commodity that you can never earn back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Is it time for you to do a self check and ask yourself, “am I really making the most of and maximizing my time?

You’ve Got This

Sometimes all we really need is to hear “you’ve got this.” No, not in reference to ourselves taking the lead on our lives but rather that God has got this. “You’ve got this” is our bold confession to God that we trust that He’s in control and that He can more than handle whatever we may be going through.

He’s with you: Never does He leave nor forsake you. Is there any better friend to have? Who can make a promise like this one except for God? Since we know He’s with us, let’s acknowledge His presence and lean on Him for everything.

He sees the beginning to the end: God’s view of our lives is not limited to the past and the present, but rather He sees the past, present and future. He sees it all and He’s working it all together for the good. All things, He’s working together for the good.

He has a purpose: when we entrust our lives to God we can be assured that He has a purpose for our lives. We no longer have to believe the lie that our life has no purpose. It has a purpose and He is the life behind the purpose.

 

 

 

Do One Thing Everyday that Brings You Closer to Where You Want to Be

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     It sounds simple, but at the end of the day the reward is not always just for the swift, it’s for the committed and dedicated individuals who choose day in and day out to keep putting time in to achieve their goals.  It’s not as complex as it sounds. You do not have to make a scientific discovery or run a marathon today but opt to take steps in that direction that will enable you to one day do these things.
Start Small: Set reasonable small goals for each day. Starting with daily small steps takes a big dream and makes it more palatable and less overwhelming.
Get Real: Ask yourself, what are you willing to do and what do you have time to do? Make realistic commitments that you know are within your means of achieving.
Kiss Fear Goodbye: Don’t let fear lead your life. Take charge and decide to step outside your comfort zone even if fear itself is whispering in your ear.
Get Started Today: Sometimes it is “tomorrow” that keeps us from focusing on what we need to do today. Let tomorrow take care of itself and focus on what reasonable actions you can take today.
Remember, every day spent taking little steps will eventually amount to something really big. At the end of the year you’ll have a quantifiable measurement of how far you’ve come and just how much you’ve achieved!
You can do this! Let’s get started today!

We Don’t Know What to Do, But Our Eyes Are Upon You

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Have you ever had a moment when you felt like the whole world was coming against you? A moment when reality seemed to be caving in? A moment when justice didn’t seem to be something that was applying to your current situation? A moment that was just plain unfair or “too much to handle” or too overwhelming?

You just don’t know what to do…

You are in good company. Throughout the Bible we read the stories of kings, rulers and ordinary men and women who were met with real tangible obstacles but brought them before God knowing that no obstacle is too great for God to handle. When we look historically at some of the great kings in the Old Testament, King Jehoshaphat was a very powerful King but was well aware of his weakness and that his help and strength came from the Lord.

When the people came and told him about the vast army that was coming against him his first reaction was alarm. He was ‘alarmed.’ But his next response was so significant. His next response was to “inquire of the Lord.” He knew that the problem he was facing was great but that God was greater and he knew that when he didn’t know what to do, that  the first thing to do is to cry out to God. So, he gathers all of the people together and in the middle of this assembly he cried out to God. He ends his prayer with an honest confession to the Lord,

“Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV

How many times have we felt like that? An obstacle arises, a person is coming against us, our loved ones are stricken with an illness, whatever the case may be, we have all or will at some point in our lives experience circumstances that are difficult beyond our comprehension. We do not know how to resolve them. We see them and we are ‘alarmed’ just at Jehoshaphat was alarmed. But let our hearts turn quickly to seek the face of the Lord. While we are alarmed, He is not. While we feel overwhelmed, He does not. While the crisis seems bigger than us, we can rest in knowing that it is not bigger than God.

Oh let our eyes be enlarged and our souls revived again as we get a big view of who God is. Jehoshaphat prayed and as He did he reminded himself of the characteristics of God. In the face of a trial, we can learn to pray with eyes of faith as Jehoshaphat prayed. Here’s what we can learn from his prayer:

God is over all:

Lord, the God of ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations(v.6).”

Jehoshaphat reminded himself that God is overall all. Seated on high in heaven and ruling over all kingdoms and nations there is nothing and no one that is over God. He reigns over all: past, present and future, He reigns. Knowing that the God we serve is the one true God who reigns over all we need not be troubled a second longer. All things are under His feet.

God is all powerful: 

“Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you (v.6).”

We lest not forget that all power is in God’s hand. No authority reigns over Him. He is all powerful and any power that someone has over us has been authorized by God. We can expect that not only will God show up on our behalf but that He is already present, fighting as our Advocate. He will not give us more than we can bear and His power is made perfect in our weakness.

Recall the Faithfulness of God:

“Our God did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend (v.7)?”

Jehoshaphat recalled what God had already done in the past and we can do the exact same thing. The truth of the matter is that God has always been and will always be faithful to us. He has already given us everything and yet He continues to answer our prayers and provide for all of our needs. He is faithful. We recall His faithfulness not because He has forgotten but rather to remind ourselves, God was faithful then, He will be faithful again today and tomorrow.

The Battle Belongs to the Lord: 

“He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem.(v. 15-17).’”

God is working on our behalf. Isn’t it amazing how when trouble comes we so quickly forget that the battle is the Lord’s. We think it’s our battle and that we have to figure it out and “get ourselves out of it.” Regardless of whether we got ourselves into a battle or one has come upon us we can still seek the Lord and know that the battle is the Lord’s and deliverance is in His hands. He’s on our side and “if God be for us, who can be against us?”

The Lord is with Us: 

“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you (v.17).”

No matter where we are and what we’re going through we can be confident in the fact that the Lord is with us. God Himself is with us. Not for one single moment are we ever alone. We do not have to be afraid or discouraged but we can walk confidently in the fact that God is with us and for us. He has our back and does not let us go. In the midst of everything we face He is there with us, holding our hand through the process and acting on our behalf for His glory.

Praise Him:

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”

Praise the Lord! Something awesome happens when we begin to praise God. As we worship Him with the words of our mouth we are taking our eyes and hearts off of ourselves and fixing them upon Almighty God. God is always worthy of the praise because of who He is. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He is the One who gave us life. He is the One who sustains us. He is the One who gave His life to redeem us. He loves us with an everlasting love just as we are and there’s nothing we can do to not be loved by Him, hallelujah! There is always a reason to praise Him and no matter what we’re going through, He is worthy of the praise.

In the midst of whatever you’re facing, don’t forget that the King of Glory stands ever near. Our Counselor, Friend, Savior and a very present help in time of needs. Embrace Him and praise His name. He’s walking you through and will sustain you and encourage you. Be of good cheer, the Lord is near. When you don’t know what to pray you can say,“we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

Do You Need to Adjust Your Lens?

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How do you see the world? Is it a place full of possibility? A dangerous place? A place where there is hate more than love? Context is everything. It’s not just about how you view the world but how you view yourself in it. Are you too focused on yourself or your problems that you fail to see the big picture? Have failures snatched your optimism. Have difficult experiences robbed you of your joy? Have disappoints snuffed out all hope. Have insurmountable trials overwhelmed you and stripped you from the drive to try again?
Sometimes, we need to take the time to adjust the lens through which we view life. We must take a realistic picture of how we view it and with a discerning eye examine what needs to be filtered out of the image.
     How Do You Know When It’s Time to Adjust Your Lens?
        1.) Your Vision Has Become Blurry: Perhaps the hope that you once had has become cloudy and hard to see. What you once believed as ‘possible’ has been blurred by disappointments, failures and defeat. It’s time to adjust your lens. Use the past difficult experiences as learning lessons. Allow them to be stepping stones to propel you higher and not stumbling blocks that pull you down. Choose to forgive yourself and forgive others and clear your vision.
         2.) Your Words are Full of Negativity: Take a day to listen to the way you talk. How do you speak about yourself? How do you speak about others? Are your words building or tearing down? Are your words encouraging or are your words destroying. Be cognitive of your words and what you’re saying. Challenge yourself to speak positively about yourself and others. Find something kind to say about others and don’t allow past experiences or prejudices to become a hinderance.
         3.) You’ve Lost Faith: Do you believe the sun will rise tomorrow? Do you believe that if you use your keys that your apartment door will open? Do you believe that if you drop something it will fall based on the law of gravity? These things all take faith and the truth of the matter is we all have faith. Even in the most minor things we have faith. Faith is simple and childlike. But eventually enough hurts can make you question the faith you once had. Take the time to invest in your faith again. Don’t lose sight of the fact that faith is simply choosing to believe. What do you need to choose to believe?
        4.) You’ve Become Nearsighted & You Can No Longer See the Big Picture: If you live your life only about you and for you, to benefit you and your circle, how do you really expect to live a life that makes a difference? People that make a difference in the world deliberately choose to focus on others outside of themselves. They are willing to serve and lead in humility. Be diligent about enlarging your perspective. See beyond your circumstances. See the other people in your world and look for possibilities to connect with other people in new ways.
       5.) You Only See Yourself in the Picture: If you go through life only focused only on yourself then you’re missing the point. We are not meant to live only for ourselves. We are meant to relationally interact with others. We need people and people need us. Expand your view to see more than just yourself. Consider who you could be serving, helping and connecting with. Consider who you can learn from? See more than just yourself.

Echo

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Do you hear it? Listen closely, pause and behold, He is speaking. Right now, every moment, every day. His voice can be heard. Do you hear it?

People trek around the world to find it, the enter holy places to hear it, they climb the mountaintops to encounter it when all along there He stands, nearer than your breath, knocking at the door of your heart. Knock, knock, knock. A gentle knocking but the kind that makes you curious. The kind of knocking that makes you pause and consider. A knocking that makes you question what you’ve always known and makes you ask if it is possible for there to be another way, a true way, the only way.

The truth about God is that He is Holy. The Everlasting Creator, the One who was and is and is to come, the Alpha and Omega, the Almighty King, the Savior, holding all creation together by His breath and word. This is He. And yet, he knocks politely at the door of our hearts. He doesn’t barge His way into our hearts but He knocks and waits for you to let him in.

If you’re searching for God, stop and pause for a moment because He has found you. His offer to come into your heart stands just as true today as it did when He first knocked. You have not gone to far down the ‘wrong’ path. You have not outrun His presence. You have not done something bad enough to make Him decline His offer to you. You’re not too young.You’re not too old. It’s not too late. It remains the same offer. An offer that seems to good to be true but is indeed true. An offer that promises a lifetime of fellowship with the King and an eternity with Him. A life not lived based on your own understanding but a life spent led by a loving Heavenly Father who has a plan and a purpose for your life. Is there anything better than this? This calm, sweet, blessed assurance. He’s calling you, He’s beckoning you, He wants you, He desires you. You are His child now and forever.

Stop being an orphan. No matter how you redesign the orphanage, it’s still an orphanage. Yours might look like a multi million dollar mansion or a humble apartment but regardless, it is not where you belong, you are no longer an orphan. You have been accepted by the King, your Heavenly Father, Creator God. He has chosen you as His child. Will you accept His offer? Will you give your life to Him simply by confessing that you believe in Jesus and that He died for your sins. The price was a high price that could not be paid by us and he paid it. He rescued us. Are you going to die un-rescued because of your unbelief? Your life is slowly slipping away. You can choose. You don’t have to live a life alone. Come to Him. He loves you. You are welcome in His presence. He’s calling and His voice echoes in the depths of our hearts. Remove the callous layers and welcome him in your heart today.