How Do you Start the New Year?

Regrets or Do-Overs?

Remorse or Recommitment?

Sorrow or Joy?

It’s all in your perspective. What will you do with the past? What will you make is the future? Your choices in these few things can and will determine your tomorrow.

Choose cautiously. Choose wisely.

Kingjamesbibleonline.org

Start Today

Happy New Year’s!

New Years Resolutions…

Almost everyone has an opinion on them or at least some thought toward them. Some get all geared up to make huge resolutions, change of habits, altering routines, plans to transform their health, appearance, attitude and lifestyles. Some get just as amped up at the declaration to NOT make resolutions, because (in their opinion) “those never really work anyway!” I’m not here to argue either point, but I am here to tell you, TODAY is the day to make a definitive decision and tomorrow may be too late. My pastor has this phrase, “You will never become tomorrow what you’re not doing today.” Whatever you put off till tomorrow, you will just as easily put it off again the next day and the next.

Let me bring this point home to our hearts by a question or two … what is a goal you set or maybe something you thought at the beginning of 2017 that you planned to accomplish? Did you accomplish it, and if so, how long did it take? What if your reality for tomorrow was only determined by what you did today? What if you were going to be blessed tomorrow by what you give today? Or better yet, What if you were guaranteed to get blessed in 2018, and that blessing was going to come in the form of a pay raise in the exact amount of the giving, blessings, or accomplished things you did in 2017? What would that blessing look like??

So, if you’re plan is to lose weight, stop smoking, start eating right or even go to bed at a better hour, don’t wait for the clock to strike midnight tonight to change your ways. Do it today! Do it NOW!! As the old adage goes, “There’s no better time than the present!”

Health.com

There’s no better time to start than right now, and if you’re one of those who are adamantly opposed to setting resolutions, there’s still something to be said about setting goals and doing a little self improvement. Start there for yourselves.

Set a goal.

Chase a dream.

Start TODAY!

Fight the Good Fight

This life will have it’s ups and downs. We will have our good days and our bad days. We will have our moments when we feel on top of the world and then the very next moment, we can feel as if our world has come crashing down around us. This is the journey called LIFE. It is what it is.

Sometimes, the lows will be in physical form, maybe a ridicule from a friend, a sickness/disease or an actual assault from an enemy. Other times, it will be an emotional conflict or a spiritual confrontation that we must face. However, the times I have found to be the most difficult are those mental battles the devil will try to wage.

He knows our weak spots, our vulnerabilities, our tender places we try to hide. You know, the ones we so eloquently maintain and cover up that they seem to no longer exist. Yes, when we are allowing Christ to be strong through us, these sensitive areas are shielded by His strength. These liabilities are covered by our shield of faith. However, sometimes, we can start listening to the enemy’s lies, accusations and doubts of our identity in Christ. This is when we lower our shield, and he takes a shot to wound us.

1 timothy 6 12

Just because we serve God, and just because we have been Christians for a long time doesn’t mean tough seasons in life never come. The truth of our faith and Christian maturity is what we do when these hard times come. When we’ve been knocked down on the canvas again, the referee is starting the count, and the crowd believes it’s over, THIS is when it all comes down to truth:  THE TRUTH OF OUR CHARACTER.

These are the moments that matter the most. Will we fight the GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH and lay hold on eternal life, or will we lay down our weapons and quit? Will we finish what we’ve started when we made the confession of our faith in the beginning, or will we walk away and give it all up? It is up to us to decide.

1-timothy-6-11-12

What we decide will not only effect OUR outcome, but it can leave a legacy behind that affects many generations to come…

To Make A Dream Come True

Inspiration + Perspiration   =  

A Dream Come True

Okay, can we just get REAL for a moment? Dreams don’t just happen because we dream them. Dreams don’t become realities simply because we wish them so. Yeah, I know the world of Disney and Hollywood would like to have you think so. (No offense to both!)  No matter who tries to tell you otherwise, dreams take a lot of planning, hard work along with your inspiration to make a dream come to reality!
An Olympic runner doesn’t cross that finish line in first place simply because he dreamt about it when he was eight years old. A CEO doesn’t become a multimillionaire, because he lives his life in indecisiveness. A government official, small business owner, military officer, author or even an NFL player doesn’t become who they are just because they wished it into existence. No, a dream has to be inspired, first, but then, it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to bring it into existence.
dreams1
I think we rob this next generation, sometimes, by giving them all the materialistic things they desire, skip them through grades like their playing hopscotch and loan out credit to them like it’s water, because when you become an entitled people, you become selfish in your ethics, self-centered in your approach to community and demanding of all those around you to provide for your every whim and desire. You believe the world owes you something, rather than, believing you owe the world something. In turn, you kill the very abilities to dream and aspire plans and strategies to make those goals happen.
dream2America was founded upon people who had a dream. It has survived by having people who aspired to be great. However, it only become a great nation by being nurtured and pioneered by those who were willing to toil, sweat and even die for the dream they held within their hearts. So many gave up so much to make the great nation America has always been known as.
I know that in recent years, this vision of our country has been fought hard against, and there are many who would try to debate this notion of America being great. However, I will contend if America isn’t so great, then, why on earth are so many who don’t live here still desperately longing to come here, even by illegal methods? If America isn’t so great, then, why do so many despise the freedom, justice and pursuit of happiness that we enjoy here? But, I digress. That argument is for another post for another day…
The fact is simple, and it remains to be true: if you have a dream, and you want it to come true, apply some hard work, and you can make it happen! You may have to make some changes. You may have to acquire a great leader in your life, and you may have to overcome some incredible obstacles along the way, but if you dream it, AND you work hard to achieve it, you CAN make all your dream(s) come true!
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How’s It Growing?

 

bamboo

jurassicworld.com

 

A Chinese bamboo seed stays hidden in the ground for 4 years. It shows NO amount of growth on the surface for that entire amount of time. Then, in the fifth year, something amazing happens. In just six weeks, that same bamboo tree grows to a staggering ninety feet tall. It has even been measured to grow 48 inches in a single 24hour period.

Many have equated this type of growth with the rate of success in one’s life, but I would like to equate this to the process God, sometimes, does within our souls. There are times when we simply can’t see the change we so long to see. We work and toil, worry and sweat, striving to obey in what He has directed us, and we wonder if the growth will ever be what He has promised it will be.

be-still

quotesgram.com

 

Sometimes, we won’t see the immediate results that we so long to see, but if we will remain focused and diligent in what He has called us to do, we will surely see His promise fulfilled in His timing. Sometimes, He is working things out of our own heart and mind to get us ready for that growth. I have found that when I have to “wait on Him,” He is working on my character to help me be prepared for what He is bringing forth.

Can I tell you? He’s not finished until He says He’s finished! Sometimes, we just have to be patient in the waiting. This patience doesn’t mean to simply “kick back, relax, and take it easy,” but it means to be graceful in the commitment of the process. It means to continue putting one foot in front of the other and finish what He told you to start. It means to be just like a farmer who plants those bamboo seeds and waits through the summer heat of four years to see the abundant harvest of fall in that fifth year.

 

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thefellowshipsite.org

 

 

The New Year’s Resolution 

New Year’s Resolutions. We all make them every year. So many of us start on January 1 with a long list of all the things we need to change. You know the list… Lose weight. Exercise more. Be more organized. Reach out more. Be more kind. Be more diligent. Remember special dates better. Eat better. Just simply, Be better. Too many stores make a lot of money this time of year with all the diet plans, gym memberships, organizational books and storage totes that are bought during this month.

Then, long about March 15, all of that money becomes a waste, and the commitments slowly fade away, as we slip back into our old habits and routines, because it was simply a vocalized pledge with no foundation laid for success. It was a mental note with no accountability or standards set for true inner change…because after all, it’s so much more comfortable to remain where we are than to take the necessary steps for long term resolutions.

When we make commitments simply to make ourselves feel better, or to make us look better to other people, or simply because we think it’s the “right thing to do at the time,” we may never be able to fulfill those lofty promises. I’m sure there are plenty of wise advisors today who can give you great input on how to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions; but if you’ll allow me, I’d like to give you three points which I have found to be true…

1. The new commitment must be based on Truth not just a good feeling or a common thought. Just because it feels good, doesn’t mean it will last, and just because it works for someone else, doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. Too often, we set New Year’s Resolutions, because someone else is doing it or  because “it’s the trendy thing to do in January!”

Just as serving Jesus only because “someone else is doing it” isn’t going to get you into heaven, making those New Years Resolutions simply because of someone else isn’t going to turn out so well either. The Word says in John 8:31-32, “Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Basing your commitment on truth will set you free from the expectations and the results or failures of others. Truth sets you free to learn and grow as is best for YOU, and it allows you to hear clearly the path you are to take. Truth sets us free from the trends, which come and go as the evening tide, and Truth is the door through which we will find our very best future.

2. We must build a foundation for the change. When a good builder builds a house, he doesn’t throw some walls together, slap a roof on it and call it good. No, he thinks about it, he carefully makes out his plans, and he usually gathers a team to assess the plans. After they have made their suggestions and given their advice, he then makes the necessary adjustments before he carries out those plans. Planning before making those commitments will help you to actually think about that to which you’re committing. Stopping to think allows you to not only realize the veracity of your commitment, but also, the depth of sacrifice you’ll need to make to carry out that commitment.

3. We must set boundaries in place and have strong accountability to sustain the change. When a professional MMA fighter, like Holly Holm, decides she is going to challenge the Ronda Rousy, she doesn’t simply step in the ring and say, “Bring it on.” She has a trainer; sometimes, she has a team of trainers who not only help her to work out and train for the big day, but they also help her study her opponent. They give her advice and pointers on how to be better, and they keep her accountable to her original goals and commitments. They work as a team to accomplish the goal set before her. Having a team around you who can help you, advise you, and even rebuke you at times, enables you to stay consistent to your commitments for a longer period of time. Having someone there to show us when we’re in error helps us to avoid the pitfalls and distractions that, too often, cause us to give up in despair before the goal is ever realized.

So, no matter your commitments and resolutions for this new year, if you can put these three little points into action before making them, you will find, later on in this year, those New Years Resolutions are here to stay!

Happy New Years to you and yours! 😊

Why Break Their Hearts

IMG_9834Ya know, sometimes, this world makes me angry at how easily people can walk away from a life commitment. I want to remind them that they made a vow before and to each other, before their family and friends, before GOD. Vows shouldn’t be made flippantly nor should they be taken lightly. Your word should stand for more than just a simple piece of paper that can be shred and burned in less than a minute. Your word should be solid, one that can be passed on from generation to generation.

I understand, there are legit reasons, cases of infidelity, abuse and illegal activities. I got it. They’ve got their reasons, but sometimes, I just want to scream at those who give up for stupid reasons, especially when there’s kiddos involved. Statements like, “Well, I just don’t love you anymore….I’m tired of trying.” These nonchalant attitudes, thoughts of reckless abandonment, these kinds of things should be scoffed at in today’s society, not “understood” and consoled, even congratulated. These are the words that shatter young dreams. These are the actions that implode self esteem and fragmentize tender hearts, and I’m not talking about those who make the decision but, rather, the lives surrounding that decision. Everyone is effected. No one is immune.

Moments fade. Lives change. Hearts are never to be the same. The decision makers think, “All will mend in time. It will eventually be okay.” What they don’t see is the permanent limp they’ve caused, not only to their own life, but to all those involved. Yes, limps can be managed, compensated for, and sometimes, even hidden for a while, but eventually, truth always unveils what is left in the shadows. Water always finds its level, and that is when surviving begins, and thriving is left in the dreamland.

Yes, I know, thriving can come. Healing can come. I am a testimony to this kind of pain and to this kind of healing. It is possible. There is hope thereafter; however, I still experience the pains and the healing…and I’m in my 40’s…and the deed was done just shy of that many years! It’s just not an easy road to travel for those following behind. 

Be careful what you say in anger. It may come back to bite. Be cautious what you do when lonely. It may come back to haunt you. Live your life for the eternal moments more than the momentary pleasures of relief. Live out your days with determination to keep those commitment which matter to those coming behind. Live in such a way that generations to come will be eager to follow.

The Day of Promise

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I sat in the back, ever the silent observer. I watch. I speculate. I admire. I reminisce. They stand at the front facing one another. The stress of the day is falling off as they interlock fingers and get lost in one another’s eyes.
Stone
Brick
Burlap

Tomorrow is what they’ve longed for all their life. They think. They plan. They rejoice. They dream. They reach for that sacred ring. The weight of the promise spreading wide and becoming light as they remember the One Who keeps their hearts true.
Gold
Silver
White

She walks the aisle for all to see. She blinks. She smiles. He stares. He desires. They gaze and wonder for the days to come. The realization of hopes coming true and revealing the love forever sealed.
Happiness
Covenant
Faithfulness

Embraced with Hope.
Sealed with Love.

This Day of Promise.