Christian or Nah?

Spent a lot of time reading today, and one particular thought kept recurring through my head as I read this post by a “Christian” and that blog by an “nonbeliever” and a tweet by a “Christian who is a professional” and then an article by a “self proclaimed heathen” and so on…

Observation for today: If you call yourself a Christian, yet mock those who have overcome failures and defeat, focus more on race, politics and cultural agendas, and create division rather than unity by your words and/or actions,

what is setting you apart from the world??

…and if we are not set apart from the world, why would “they” want anything we have?

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Be the Fire

No one said this life would be fair. No one said you’d always walk along a path of daisies and roses. Sometimes, life just stinks, and you have to live through the pain and agony it presents.

Sometimes, this life is going to be set on fire, and you’ve got to decide whether you’re going to grab a bucket and put out the flames , stand your ground and walk through the blaze, or lie down and become the ashes. The choice is yours, and no one can make that choice for you.

You can be destroyed in the fire, or you can slow it to refine you, strengthen you and teach you. If you decide to lie down and allow it to consume, you must know that your life may not be the only one that is devoured. There may be children, grandchildren, friends and family. Often, we do not realize, we stand as a shield for those coming behind.

If you choose to walk through, the road may not be easy, and it may get hotter and more strenuous before it gets better, but there is one who promises you will not be diminished from the inferno.

His name is Jesus.

And He loves you.

With God by your side, the flames may lick at your being, and the temperatures may rise beyond comfortable, but YOU WILL MAKE IT. He will walk beside you. He will guide you, and when needed, He will carry you.

Give Him a chance. He will not disappoint. He is able. He is faithful. He is true, and His promises are unbreakable…inflammable…in-consumable.

When you choose to walk through the flames with Him, you become resilient to the wildfires. You become a pillar of stone that cannot be singed. You become the firefighter who rescues others from the flames.

Character Sustains

Talent can come with a birth. Popularity can come with a spotlight. Power can be gained in an moment of weakness.

Character isn’t born overnight, but it can be sustained over a lifetime.

Sometimes, you have to be patient to watch character arise from within, but once it arrives, there will be no question of its existence.

Just wait a minute or two. Don’t invest too early simply because the person entered with fireworks, glitz, glamour and a grandstand. Wait till the storm rolls in.

Then, you will know who your true friends are. The persons of character may be silent with all the clamor of the world around you, but when the tornadic disasters of life slam against your heart, these will be the ones screaming as they rise from the ashes to stand by your side. 💗

Character: Next Right

When you are a person of character, you won’t question IF you should do the right thing, because you’ll know the right thing must be done.

Character is proven in moments of difficulty or trial when it’s easier just to walk away. Character is sustained when a crisis arises, and criticisms and ridiculed may be at their worst. Character is deepened each time the right choices are chosen, regardless, the sacrifice or struggle that may be endured.

Ask yourself today, “Are you a person of character or a person of reputation (conformity)?” Do you stand alone to make the right choice, or will you bend and sway like a daffodil, depending upon the wind and waves to guide you?

Character: Measure Up

Character is not dependent upon how much money you have, how many friends you have or even your upbringing or your ethnic background. I’ve heard it said, “Money doesn’t change you; it only makes you more of what you already are.”

Character is solely dependent upon the choices you make. Character is shaped by the thoughts you think, the decisions you make and the things you allow to penetrate your soul. You can choose to be a person of character, or you can choose to be a victim to every circumstance and crisis that arise, even those that don’t even truly effect you.

I have seen the poorest of souls carry themselves with the highest level of character known to mankind, and I’ve seen the richest of rich carry themselves with the absolute lowest of character, never to be desired. Character is truly how you live when you have nothing, and how you react when you have everything.

The choice is yours.

When looking for quotes about character, I came across this “Six Pillars of Character” chart. I looked at each point of this list and thought, if everyone on this planet simply lived by this list of character traits, what an amazing world we would live in. What an incredible world we would be leaving for or children…

One common denominator ties together all of these assets of character: Faith. I’m not talking about religion. I’m not talking about a spiritual belief. I’m not even talking about one god or another. Just F. A. I. T. H.

Faith in a higher power than self. Faith in a greater cause than ourselves. Faith in goodwill, joy, peace, strength and freedom. Faith in a better world for the next generation.

Do I rest my faith in a “higher power?” Yes. Do I believe there is a greater cause than myself? Yes. Do I believe you can have joy, peace, strength and freedom without taking it from someone else just to obtain it? Yes. Do I believe there can be a better hope for this next generation than the mess we are presently managing for them? Yes.

What we do today in our actions, our words and our lifestyles will either confirm or destroy the character we claim to possess.

Character Screams

A man or woman of character may not be numbered with the most popular, the most fashionable or the most affluent in the crowd. He or she may very well have each of these, but these won’t be the first assets he/she will seek.

This person will have deep roots, gentle eyes, and a soul that is anchored in peace and in truth. When gossip is given, her deep roots will sustain her. When chaos arises, his gentle eyes will see purpose and promise. When the storms of life threaten to overwhelm, the depths of her soul will not be shaken, for she knows where her strength rests.

People of character draw people of strength to their side. They live with purpose, promise and even preparation for the good and the bad, never relying on carnal and material things to be their refuge or their guide. They reside in a place of security, hope and freedom.

You will not have to question if he or she is a person of character, because what they do is not impulsive; it is a lifestyle.

Character will reveal itself through every action you take. It is the one thing that speaks louder than words. When you are the most silent, your character will actually scream to the world of its existence.

… What kind of character are YOU? …

Start the New Year off Right!

Follow these beauty tips, and you’ll be on our way! 😉

To Ponder

To me, pondering is like a rolling tide, swirling in loads and loads of seashells and sand. It’s like falling back into the deep, fresh fallen snow, sinking lower and lower till you almost have to dig yourself out. It’s the billowing clouds above shifting and turning with the wind, the jet streams drawing one near while sending another away. It’s the swirling of autumn leaves as they gently fall off the oak tree and spin and twirl toward the dirt in a waltzing dancelike motion.

You see, I ponder things. I wonder. I analyze. I muse. I imagine. I postulate and theorize until all facts and thoughts are gathered and brought to conclusion, and resolution, yet, attempting to not assume, surmise or conjecture. I meditate on scriptures, contemplating their meanings for my life and the course I might take. I cherish memories and reminisce of days gone by, how things were, how they might have been, and, sometimes, even how they should have been if the outcome was less than desirable.

It makes me think of the scripture spoken of the mother of Jesus, “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) I am by no means aligning myself with Mary, as she was much more meek, humble and chosen. Yet, I think of how she might have pondered all the wonderful things about Christ, even from his birth, and I aspire to be like that. She seems to be a woman who pondered and mused the things that happened to her, to her family and to her children. She seemed to be a woman of deep thought, possibly even, a woman of few words. Taking things as they come, adjusting as she must, and living life with faith and strength through the good and the bad.

Yeah, I think I’d like to be like that, a person of that same character. And so, I ponder. I treasure. I cherish. I reflect. I nurture and cultivate the thoughts and happenings around me. I study, deliberate and reason why His Word tells me what it does. I pray these wonderings lead me deeper and deeper in my walk with Him.

So, I will ponder.

Will you?

Knowing YOU

I’ve been sharing for the last few days on the subject of authenticity. This is such a great word, and everybody is better off when we all embrace it to it’s fullest. Yet, as I posted those blogs, I started thinking how maybe some people resist authenticity, not necessarily, because they like to be fake, but rather, because they don’t really know themselves.

It made me think of the movie, Runaway Bride, when Julia Roberts’ character has to go “find herself” before she can commit to what she’s purposed to do. (Trying not to give any spoilers here! 😜) Now, I’m not a big advocate of dropping all your commitments to go “find yourself,” because I think, too often, this is used as a cop-out to simply be lazy or rebellious toward the commitments you’ve made. However, my point is this…

You can never be authentic until you truly know and embrace who you are!*

So, get to know that person staring back at you in the mirror every morning. Stare hard. Stare long. Ask questions and answer them, even when they’re hard ones that scream for honesty.

What are my likes? What are my dislikes? Why do I laugh? Why do I cry? What do I believe? For what, in what, or in whom, do I hope? In whom, or what, do I put my trust? When am I the most scared? When am I the most lonely? When am I the most confident and why?

There are a gazillion questions to ask and answer. This may take awhile. Even if it takes the rest of your life, don’t stop asking and never stop answering.

That’s the only way you can truly realize who you are. Draw out that heart within. Reach down deep and find the depths of your soul. Is it shallow, or are the measures endless and complex? True self-evaluation and self-analyzation helps to recognize, acknowledge, challenge and change those things that need alteration and improve those things which are just needing tweaking or strengthening.

Having a mentor, a life coach or just a truth speaking friend will also help you to find yourself and be the “true you,” but these thoughts will be held for another day.

Now, get out there and get to know YOU; so, you can let that authenticity blossom!! 😉

*Note to the wise: the real truth in who you are can, actually, only be found when you come to know the Creator of who you are, and that, my friend, will be a full post for another day very soon; however, you can start on that path of discovery today: Proverbs 9:10; John 1:1; John 3:16

Give Yourself Permission: Authenticity

Too many of us grow up believing we must conform to society, or be molded after our family’s traditions, or conform to our friends’ desires, or even be completely yielded to our parents’ or spouses wishes. When we’ve been constantly conditioned to surrender and submit all willpower, all defiance, all choice to the determination of another, authenticity can escape us, and we might not even realize it.

It really takes hard work to be authentic, because not everyone is going to agree with you on everything. It takes a dogged mindset to remain real when the world around us is full of so much fake that is sold to the highest bidder. It even takes a mental stubbornness to remain grounded in your own beliefs, standards and choices for life, especially if you have someone close to you whom you seek to have their approval, affection or admiration.

The coveting of another’s love can wreak havoc on one’s conviction to be authentic. At times, it will even take some self-denial to preserve true genuineness of soul, because our natural tendency toward selfishness can, often, override authenticity to the point of creating a self-righteous, self-approved, self-promoted state of being, which is never truly authentic in the matters of the heart.

A true authentic being is one who knows herself, the good, the bad and the ugly, and is fully aware of what needs improvement, and is willing to make the, sometimes, hard adjustments to bring the kind of change that will not simply “turn over a new leaf,” but change that will also be magnetic to cause others to desire this same type of transformation to become authentic.

Authenticity comes with a price. Those willing to pay it will reap it’s amazing benefits. Those who refuse will grow stagnant in the mundane, duplicity and hypocrisy of life, until they eventual die a slow, cruel death of fake relationships, dual personalities and a foul, unreliable character.

So, it is up to you, and it up to me.

What will you choose?

I will strive to choose authenticity.