Who Do You Need to Forgive?

One could argue that worst type of captivity is not the captivity that you can see, but rather the captivity that you can’t see. – EE Winkler

Have you ever stopped to consider, what is it that’s holding you captive? Is it yourself? It is another person? Is it a substance? Is it unforgiveness?

So often, we don’t realize that we’re bound up in unforgiveness. We just think that we are the way we are because that’s how we are. But over time, even small offenses will build up and have the capacity to do so much damage in our lives.

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Photo by Maria Shanina on Unsplash

Forgiving is the key to your freedom. 

I think that all of us can look inside and find at least one person that we need to forgive. Truth be told, it might be that you need to forgive yourself. We think that the things that people do to hurt us do not really matter and do not affect us, but actually they really do.

By not forgiving them, you’re actually allowing yourself to stay in a perpetual state of bondage. Eventually unforgiveness turns into bitterness and it will affect your life whether you want it to or not. You will actually not be able to love yourself and love others at your potential capacity if you choose to stay stuck in unforgiveness.

What does it mean to forgive someone?

To forgive means that you CHOOSE, not necessarily feel, to no longer hold the offense of someone else against them. I emphasize CHOOSE, because so often we think we have to wait until we feel like it before we forgive. But this principle is a faulty logic that we do not apply in other areas of our lives.

We CHOOSE to exercise even if we are tired because we understand the health benefits.

We CHOOSE to go to work, even if we don’t feel like it because we are committed.

We CHOOSE to be kind, even if we don’t feel happy because it is the right thing to do.

We CHOOSE to love others even when they are not loving to us because we are called to.

We make choices every single day and forgiveness just has to be one of those choices that we make. IF, and only if, we want to be free and remain free. Freedom always costs something and just because we are free today does not mean that we do not have to work to maintain our freedom for tomorrow.

What happens if the painful feelings come back after we forgive?

Sometimes, after we choose to forgive, the feelings of hurt, sadness and pain start to creep up again. When this happens, we have to remind ourselves that we have chosen to forgive and choose not to stay angry. This is so important because if we entertain these feelings then will find ourselves being bound up all over again. We must release that hurt and choose, even when we don’t feel like it.

So, who do you need to forgive today? 

Won’t you make a choice to forgive them? The freedom that you crave is well within your reach if only you will just choose.

©All Rights Reserved 2019

When: Say Goodbye to Fear, Doubt & Anxiety

When – an inspirational poem to encourage you to say goodbye to fear, doubt and anxiety. 

Poetry is one of the most beautiful expression of words that I know. I first fell in love with it as a young child. I started reading poets like Langston Hughes and Shell Silverstein and I was inspired by the beauty of their work.

When is an original poem I wrote to talk about issues like fear, doubt and anxiety.

Rose photo credit: Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

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Broken

via Daily Prompt: Broken

Broken

By EE Winkler

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Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

When you are broken you are at your best

still alive, you have withstood the test

humbled completely and compassionate

are breathed out from your brokenness

When you are broken the world is not as it seems

your lens is tainted based on what you see

and it’s hard to imagine all that you could be

but behold that there is a world of possibility

When you are broken don’t stay there

there is a Healer who desires to heal and repair

every broken place inside of you

with His Word he heals with peace, love and truth

When I am broken what my eyes can’t see

is His tender love that washes over me

His voice whispers to me and He calms all my fears

gives me hope for tomorrow and dries my tears

He holds my hand in my despair

and reminds me that His love has always been there

in my joy and in my pain

His perfect love pursues me all the same.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Affliction

Affliction

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Florian Bernhardt on Unsplash

Don’t get caught up in momentary woes

afflictions and trials they come and go

they have the power to shape our lives for the good

but only if we respond to them as we should

Some they blame affliction for their hate

and it gives them a platform for their complaints

but others see affliction’s tender blows

that births beauty, strength and growth

The afflictions of life they never cease

no matter your status or your wealth or pedigree

affliction bears its weight upon us all

and the truly strong at heart never crumble or fall

Afflictions in and of themselves are not a joyous thing

but when they are viewed from the right lens then great joy they bring

no affliction is never desired or yearned for

except by those who have tasted affliction’s rewards.

©All Rights Reserved

Life Without Laughter?

via Daily Prompt: Laughter

Life Without Laughter?

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Unsplash

A life without laughter is not really a life

but simply an existence in the world does one abide

laughter is the medicine to our souls

to provide some relief in the midst of troubles and woes

A life without laughter is not really a life

without any real joy dwelling inside

when the serious matters are taken too seriously

how can one live life as it was meant to be

A life without laughter is not really a life

void of anything lasting it lives only to survive

take a moment to laugh in the middle of high stress

and a smile will calm your mind and give you a moment of rest

The power of laughter one cannot negate

it can give you the energy you need after a long day

it’s better with friends and those you love

to share a little bit of laughter and a lot of love.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Travels to Israel: The Garden of Gethsemane & Church of All Nations (Basilica of the Agony)

Although it is said that the exact location of the Garden of Gethsemane is unknown, there are many reasons that point to this location being the most likely location of where it would have been.

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     The Garden of Gethsemane was full of olive trees and the literal translation actually means “olive press.” The olives that were harvested from this garden were pressed to make olive oil that was of such high quality that it was reserved for kings. Is it any wonder that this is where Jesus was praying the night before His crucifixion? He was about to be pressed like these olives for the sins of all mankind.
     Today, if you choose to visit the Garden of Gethsemane (which I highly recommend if you are visiting Jerusalem, it is worth it), then you will still find a garden of olive trees* that are indeed thousands of years old.
     There is also a church called the “Church of All Nations” or Basilica of the Agony. It is absolutely stunning. From the outside, the large columns protrude from the building and a large colorful painting covers the top front part of the church building. You can look up at it but I definitely recommend crossing the street to get a better view.
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The church photo taken from across the street.
    At the entrance, there is a sculpture of an olive tree constructed from iron that you can’t miss as you enter the church. As I walked in the church I was in awe of the beautiful purple stained glass windows, the colorful array of mosaics and the massive dome that is the canvas to even more elaborate paintings.
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    The church is dark inside for the purpose of remembering that this is the Garden of Gethsemane. It was here that Jesus prayed in such deep sorrow before He was handed over to be crucified. The Word describes it best.

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matthew 26:36-46

     This was definitely worth visiting and I am so grateful that I got to visit it in person. If you have the opportunity and you’re interested, I would definitely add this as a place to visit.
*Factoid: olive trees can live and produce fruit for literally thousands of years. Ponder: could some of these trees been the same trees that existed when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane. 

Rivulets

via Daily Prompt: Rivulet

Rivulets

by EE Winkler

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Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Unsplash

I was walking in darkness I could not see

until I was awakened to His truth about what He has done for me

It was a day that I won’t forget

He was knocking on my heart and I let Him in

He poured out His love like rivulets

and he paid a price that I won’t forget

now I am alive because His spirit lives in me

set free from my bondage now I am free

Within His kingdom there is a place

for anyone and everyone that will profess His name

not as slaves but as children to the Father’s love

a love greater than any other I cannot completely fathom

He poured out His love like rivulets

and he paid a price that I won’t forget

now I am alive because His spirit lives in me

set free from my bondage now I am free

Grace, grace is what He gave

paid by the His body broken and blood poured out to save

Love, love is found in His name

purer than any other all for love to this earth He came

He poured out His love like rivulets

and he paid a price that I won’t forget

now I am alive because His spirit lives in me

set free from my bondage now I am free

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Authentic You (an inspirational & motivational poem)

via Daily Prompt: Authentic

Authentic You

by EE Winkler

There is only one authentic you

not another one could do what you do

uniquely created by God’s loving hands

whose good thoughts about you outnumber the sand

There is only one authentic you

shaped and molded for good things to do

with a plan and purpose for your life

you can live at peace knowing God is right by your side

There is only one authentic you

perhaps you need to see yourself from another view

stop focusing on all the negativity

but see your potential and the possibilities

There is only one authentic you

beautiful, brilliant and accepted too

you will never be able to measure the depth of how you’re loved

with a love so deep that a billion words would never be enough

to describe the magnitude of His love for you

it would make you love yourself  and your neighbor too

There is only one authentic you

oh the peace if you only knew

that there has never been and never will be

another person just like you or me

you might find a twin

or have familiar looking kin

but none of this will change what’s true

that there is still only one authentic you.

©All Rights Reserved

 

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Daily Prompt: Fret

via Daily Prompt: Fret

Why Fret?

by EE Winkler

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Photo by Nikhil Mitra on Unsplash

Why fret and worry your life away?

when one worry will not gain you an extra day

we only must live this life to the full

and make the most of every moment to do good

Why fret and worry your life away?

it does no good to get so carried away

on the things that are beyond our control

we can only have faith and trust as they unfold

Why fret and worry your life away

there’s more to this life than words can convey

have you ever seen a bird worry with a furrowed brow?

searching for food and hoping to build it’s house?

Does a bird have more faith then you?

To believe that God will provide it with food

Why fret and worry your life away

you are treasured and loved just as you are today

simply have faith and believe

that the God unseen will provide your every need.

©All Rights Reserved

 

Daily Prompt: Radiant

via Daily Prompt: Radiant

Radiant

by EE Winkler
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Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

His love is so radiant it shines so bright

too brilliant to see with the naked eye

beyond our comprehension our minds cannot grasp

His eternal love that always was and is and never will run dry

His love is so radiant it dazzles more than any star

it has no limit and it covers everyone near and far

there’s no way to measure His love so divine

so pure and perfect by design

Just as you are you are accepted by Him

His radiant love has covered your sin

a free gift open to all

whosoever will answer His call

Not with condemnation did He come

but with arms open wide on a cross He hung

forever don’t forget His open embrace

His love so radiant that He came to save

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Never Again

An original poem inspired by #NeverAgain 

Never Again 

by EE Winkler

Now ain’t the time to stay seated

we’re rising up…

Now ain’t the time to stay silent

we’ve had enough

Haven’t enough lives been lost

Isn’t it time we count the cost

If we really want to live a life that matters

Then we need to start speaking up

Never again are we going to let this happen

Never again on our watch…

 

 

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I’m Speaking for Her (a poem inspired by International Women’s Day 2018)

Although one day is designated to celebrate International Women’s Day, this is something we can choose to see, embrace, support and celebrate every single day of the year.

I wrote this poem on International Women’s Day 2018. I am inspired by the movement of so many women who have come before me and paved the way and I’m ready to lay some pavement for my generation to make this world a better place for those after me.

I’m Speaking for Her

by: EE Winkler

Every woman has a voice

Every woman has a name

Every woman has a purpose to fulfill today

It’s time we start embracing the truth within our hearts

You were created so beautiful with a purpose, a role, a part

So speak right now if you know it

So speak right now if it’s true

Let’s build a better future

That’s built upon the truth

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

If we want to make this world a better place

Then it’s going to have to start with us today

We’re going to speak out for justice

We’re going to speak out in love

We’re going to speak with compassion

We’re going to shine with a light from above

We’re done with the sidelines, we’re kissing them goodbye

Cause I have a voice and I’m using it tonight

So speak right now if you know it

So speak right now if it’s true

Let’s build a better future

That’s built upon the truth

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

We are not guaranteed tomorrow

We only have this day

It’s time we seize this moment

And make the most of this day

What are we doing that matters?

What are we doing that counts?

We’re speaking out against injustice, and we’re speaking out right now

So speak right now if you know it

So speak right now if it’s true

Let’s build a better future

That’s built upon the truth

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

I’m speaking for her

© All Rights Reserved

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Choose Love

“Love is a choice. Beyond feelings, beyond a moment in time, it’s a daily deliberate decision to choose to love.  But in order to be able to love like this, you must first know how much you are already loved by Him.”  -EE Winkler

Choose Love

An original poem by EE Winkler

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
You can love because He has first loved you…
Photo by Magda Fou on Unsplash

For All the Times You Hear “I Can’t”

An original poem by EE Winkler. Don’t ever, ever give up. 

For All the Times You Hear “I Can’t”

EE Winkler

For all the times you hear “I can’t”
Stop for a moment and consider the ant
watch how steadily and diligent he moves
to carry up to 10 times his weight over hills and grooves
you won’t hear him whimper or complain
but slowly, slowly he builds his place
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 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 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.
In Video:

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash (2nd image)

Don’t Let This Moment Pass You By–Making the Most of Time

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Photo by Crew on Unsplash
It’s gone. That moment when you first read this title. It has passed you by and it will never come back again. I think that we lose sight of the ugly truth about time. Time is the most expensive commodity in this world and yet we waste it. We find ourselves being distracted by things that don’t matter. Distracted by things that at the end of our lives, will not be something that we recall to mind. Yet although we know these distractions exist and we’re irritated that they exist, we still nurture or pacify their existence.
But what if we starting reclaiming the hours, minutes and seconds of our time back? What if we were more intentional about our investment in the way that we spend our time? Not for the sake of getting more done, but rather for the sake of living a life that brings more fuliment and meaning to our existence.
Time has no meaning outside of relating it to someone higher than ourselves. The Creator of time and the ruler of time. The One who designated a time for us to come into the world and a time for us to leave the world. The One who simultaneously sees our whole lives from beginning to end. At the end of our lives, what will He have to say about our investment of our time? What if the all the things we worked and strived for that we thought mattered, actually don’t?
If a rich man loses his wealth, his title and all material things, but looks around him and sees his beautiful wife and children, is he not still rich? Is his wealth determined by the material things or the people that surround him and love him?
We are each given a predetermined allotment of time on this earth. But do we live a life considering that there is an eternity that will follow this life?
How Do We Make the Most of Our Time?
  1. Take a Recap. Ask yourself the tough questions. What did I do with my time last year? Was it worthwhile? Was there anything I would have done differently? Be honest with yourself. If your recap doesn’t look the way you wanted it to look, then be joyful, today you can start making this a year that will be better than the last.
  2. Examine Your Life Story. If someone wrote a book about your life right now, would it be a story that you were proud of or would it be full of regrets? Would there be things you wish you would have done or did you take every opportunity to do good? Would it be full of excuses or would it show that you made the most out of what you had?
  3. Invest in People. This is the investment that will never be affected by a stock market or interest rate. The investment you make in the life of another person, is indispensable. We need each other. We were made for relationship with other people. No one is an island, nor is anyone a self made person. It was through the investments of many people that made us who we are. Parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, mentors, friends —they all made an impact in our lives to shape us into who we are today. So, how can we invest in other people?
  4. Seize the Day (and the hours, minutes & seconds). See beyond the mundane aspects of daily life and see what’s really there. If it was your last day on earth and you were ironing clothes would your attitude have been positive or negative? Can you see the beauty in the simplest tasks? Can you see the beauty in serving someone besides yourself?
  5. Know the Creator of Time. How can life really be meaningful if you don’t know the Author and the Finisher of life? If you were a computer engineer, and you had the opportunity to sit in a room and talk with Charles Babbage, the father of computing, would you? Wouldn’t your friends, family and colleagues think you were crazy if you passed up this opportunity? Yet, what if daily you’re passing up the opportunity to talk to the Father of life? He’s already extended the invitation. It was sent via an old wooden cross. If you thought it was just a story for the “religious,” think again when He said “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” What a joy it is to know, that includes you and me.
Tick, tock, tick, tock, tick…

The Vine

An original poem inspired by John 15

 

 

 

The Vine

The Vine called out to me the branch…
whatever you do, just don’t let go
I love you more than you could ever know
you don’t have to fret and fear
just look by your side
and you’ll see I’m near
I make the sun to shine upon your face
and I’ve given you everything you need by my glorious grace
my love it truly knows no end
I’m holding you together again and again
The branch replied…
But the wind it blows and it shakes my life
I try to hold on and I’m holding tight
but I feel like this storm is going to tear me apart
it’s hitting me to the core of my heart
The vine said…
Don’t worry about a single thing
In me you’ll find everything
even if the storm blows everything away
I will still be holding you at the end of the day
Your tears I’ve gathered like precious gems
In your ear I’m whispering sweet encouragement
If only you will just stay connected to me
You will find the beauty in everything
The branch it smiled and leaned in close
looking at the vine it could suddenly know
that every care and concern
the vine of course had surely heard
the branch experienced the love of the vine that day
when the fiercest storm came and threatened to blow it away
but as it held on to the vine it soon began to see
that the all along the vine was holding onto me.