Monday, June 11, 2012

Willpower or Real Power?

When I hear the phrase "just pull yourself up by your bootstraps" I want to scream. Have you ever felt that way?  Or are you the person that gives that advice to others?

Doesn't matter.  We're all people and we all live in a world that threatens to destroy us in some way at some point.  Everybody has their different "demons" as they say.

You may have a lot of money and/or power.  Problems come with that.  Perhaps you have no money and are alone.  Problems come with that as well.  It seems that nobody is free from potential emotional damage...whether you want to admit it or not.

"Pull yourself up by the bootstraps" as I mentioned above, is a popular phrase.  Or perhaps..."just do it".
Nice and concise.  Too bad it's easier said than done.

I said I don't like those phrases...but why?  I guess it's because those things rely on willpower and that requires energy...and you know what?  That's okay.  For a while. But eventually our energy gets sapped.  We are drained.  Then what?

Rest.  Go on a vacation.  Buy some new clothes.  Remodel.  (Or, for the people who can't afford that at the moment - re-arrange the living room or bedroom).

Being the creative,versatile people that we are, we will think of something.

And then...

We do it all over again.  Live life.  Eventually the problems return and we "pull ourselves up by the bootstraps" just one more time. . . and the cycle continues.

Willpower is amazing.  We have so much more of it than we realize.

We can go on the crazy willpower roller coaster ride for the rest of our lives - with those little breaks in between to keep us going - or we can plug into some real power.

But what is the Real Power and how can we plug into it?

The real power is found in Christ.  When we are connected to Him we can experience real power.  Healing power.  Incredible power.

So what will it be for you?

Willpower or Real Power?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Can Marriage REALLY last??? is mine and my husbands 33rd year anniversary.  Our marriage started out a little on the unorthodox side.  We actually didn't start dating until AFTER we got married.  I know.  Weird.  Definitely not the norm nor is it what I would typically recommend.  But I WOULD recommend dating each other for the rest of your lives.

Seriously.  It's fun.  It totally enhances your relationship.  Your kids - if you decide you want them - will watch you from a distance and secretly delight in the fact that their mom and dad are still married in this very insecure world.  But... more importantly:

Love each other.

Sounds easy, right?  Wrong!  Yes, loving requires that you love others as much as you love yourself - and that isn't easy.  Well...loving ourselves can be easy - but loving others is certainly not a piece of cake.  Not all the time, anyway.

Truly loving somebody means you will consider their feelings at any given time.  You will want the best for them and do what you can to help in that area.  They come first.

Ideally, this is a two way street.  Both of you will put each other first.

Alas, more often than not, only one spouse invests in the relationship... usually the woman.
Ever wonder why that is?  Pretty simple explanation, actually.

Women are generally more relational.   

So MEN.  Listen up!  This is vitally important!

You are important and I recognize that you have abilities that surpass your counterpart.  But think about this:

If you were to tell you that you had a short time to live...what would you do?  Close your eyes and think about it before you read on.

If you are like the vast majority of the population, you would change your perspective. You wouldn't think to yourself that it is incredibly important to work would want to spend "overtime" with your wife and kids.  With people that are important to you.  Relationships are what make human life exceptional.

So, do yourself, your spouse and your kids a favor and:


When you do that, you will find that...yes...

Marriage CAN really last!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

From Hassle to Hope!

What would you think if I told you that irritating, annoying, frustrating life circumstances that we deal with every day...can actually become amazingly wonderful realities in our lives?

You'd think I was out of my mind.

Well...what if it were true?

You see, when we apply God's promises to everyday situations, those little mundane annoying circumstances will actually become nuggets of hope in our lives.  Those nuggets - those annoying circumstances, chronic difficulties or horrendous struggles, will turn into stepping stones that we can put our weight on until the day comes when we step into our Final Hope - Heaven.

I know.  You are probably furrowing your brow right now as you wonder what in the world I'm talking about.  Stay with me here.

Did you see the movie, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"?  Remember the pond that turns everything into gold that is immersed in the water?  The pool of water was found in a cave and the people who discovered it, saw what looked like valuable statues in the pond. Turns out that everything that was dropped into the water - no matter how mundane it was - turned into gold.

That is what happens when we know the Word of God and apply His promises to the everyday circumstances in our lives.  Those painful frustrations actually become potential sources of hope... but only when we apply the truth of God's Word to every situation.

It's as if we "dropped" an exasperating life event into the water...the water being the Word of God...and eventually what was once a frustration becomes gold in the sense that it places you in a position of needing to apply God's word in order to "deal" with the vexing venue you find yourself in.  The gold isn't the situation...we are refined like gold.

No.  It isn't easy and it certainly doesn't come naturally.  It requires that we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives as we give ourselves over to Him.  That takes discipline and willingness.  It may happen quickly or it could take more time than we'd like, but...

It can be done.  It IS being done by some.  Do you want to include yourself in that number?

It's time to move . . .

From Hassle to Hope!

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Hope That Satisfies...

You know how sometimes you read or hear about something that sticks with you?  A long time ago, I was reading about a couple of hikers that got lost.  I will call them Becky and Tara.  Nobody knows exactly what happened, but apparently they got lost and eventually separated from each other in hopes that at least one person would find civilization and send help back to the other hiker...if that hiker could be found.

Of course, once separated, each hiker would be on their own and very much alone. They parted ways and made individual attempts at reaching civilization for days. Becky, who was about ready to keel over and sink into oblivion, took a few more steps that took her to the top of a barren hill that she had climbed.  She looked down and spotted a small lake.  It was the first water she had seen in days.  It gave her a hope that renewed her strength with a fervor that propelled her to the life saving watering hole.

She lived.

Days later, a search party found the other hiker about a mile behind where Becky had almost died before she spotted the life giving water.

Tara was dead.

You see, the water that gave Becky hope and propelled her to action, was not in Tara's vision.

I wonder what killed Tara first?  The lack of water or the lack of hope?

So what does this story have to do with me and you?  Sigh...

I will speak for myself.  When I have a lack of hope, I want to die.  Looking around at people surrounding me, I see that I am not alone.  Hopelessness is pervasive and threatens to destroy us.

Proverbs 13:12 says:

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

How can we turn life into longings?  In my next post, I will share with you what I have discovered about how to have ...

A Hope That Satisfies...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

One Month to Live

Okay.  I admit it.  I was at someone else's house for a while and found that I needed something to wedge the door open so I could get some fresh air inside.  If I could just find something narrow, as I didn't want a gale of wind pouring through the house.  I small slit would do.  "I know", I thought.    I sauntered over to the bookshelf in search of a suitable doorstop.

I pulled out a book, tried wedging it in the door - but it was a little too wide.  "Rats".  On my way back to the bookshelf to return the unhelpful item, I glanced at the title of the book in my hand.  It caught my attention immediately:

"One Month to Live" by Kerry & Chris Shook.

Wow.  That sounded like something I would be really interested in.  No...I 'm not going to die anytime soon that I am aware of - but still.  Sounded interesting.

I started reading:

"If you only had one month to live, what would you change?"

Hmmm...what would I change?  I continued:

"... By embracing the fact that our time on earth is limited, we can live deliberately, no longer postponing the joy and peace that come from fulfilling our God-given destiny..."

"Your time on earth is limited.  
No matter how much this idea makes you squirm, it's a fact.  No matter who you are, how young or old, what measure of success you've attained, or where you live, mortality remains the great equalizer.  With each tick of the clock, a moment of your life is behind you.  Even as you read this paragraph, seconds passed that you can never regain.  Your days are numbered, and each one that passes is gone forever."

Does this sound morbid?  Perhaps to some people it does.  But the fact remains that it is true.  Turns out this book, "One Month to Live", is not so much about death as it is about life.

Two main points, as I see it:

1)  If you aren't so sure about your eternal destiny, you might be scared away by the very title.  If that is the case, my recommendation is that you read some of my previous blogs.  Take life and death seriously.

2)  If you are certain about where you will go when your physical body reaches it's expiration date, then this book is a keeper.  Why?  Because it is so helpful to look at life with a renewed perspective.  It changes everything...including your heart.

I like to write...but I have to say, it would make me very happy if you would purchase the book, "One Month to Live".  I am not saying that because I would get anything out of it.  The authors don't even know of my existence.  You, however, are important to me - even though I may not know your name or face - and because of that I hope you purchase this book.  It will encourage you and give you the new perspective that you may very well need.

Take care, okay?  Pretend like you only have...

One Month to Live.  

Monday, April 30, 2012

A New Day

I've been gone for a while.  Though I haven't physically left, my heart and mind apparently decided to take a sabbatical without my consent.  Has that ever happened to you? Sometimes circumstances are so incredibly overwhelming that it is all you can do to keep your head above water.

You were very missed by me...but I just didn't have the energy or heart to write.  Things weren't terrible.  Well, yes . . . maybe they were.  Alas, I'm still alive - admittedly "much to my dismay".  I know.  That sounds awful.  But the truth is, sometimes life throws us so many curve balls, all we want to do is get out of the game!

It's okay though.  No.  It's good.  We all have such very strong wills.  But I, speaking for myself, want to let God's Will for my life be preeminent.  Problem is, following God is both incredibly easy and supremely difficult at the same time.

Why is that so?

Bottom line... the main thing God wants us to be is - loving.  Yes, there are hundreds of "commands" that God used to require - back in the "Old Testament" days.  But when He sent His Son, Jesus die for our sins thereby becoming a sacrifice for us - if we choose to believe in Him - things became both more simple and more difficult.

How so?

More simple because the only real command that God wants His children  to follow is:

Love.  Love yourself and your neighbors.

Oh.  And did I mention that He wants us to love our enemies?  To love people that are "unlovable" is not easy.  But maybe you've "got it down". Ask yourself this question.   Do you love those people who are difficult to love - all the time?  Does God only want us to "love" when we're "up to it"?

So how do we do it?  How do we let love permeate our lives and lifestyle so that it touches everybody we come in contact with?

I'll tell you one thing for certain - it isn't going to be easy... and it isn't natural for us.  The only way we can love with that kind of love is to let God love people through us.  The only way that will happen is if we die to ourselves - our own self wills.  But wait.  Doesn't God want us to be unique?  Isn't that how He created us?


The thing is, submitting to God does not mean we become a bunch of robots without the unique identity that God created us to have.

Okay, I'm going to say something that many of you may disagree with vehemently.

We can't submit our wills to God for very long of our own accord.  That's the hard part.  We need to submit to God.  Only He knows us so completely that He knows exactly how to help us be the people both He and we want to be.

God may even allow crushing circumstances into our lives so that we can know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we can't live in our own strength.  I know.  That sounds terribly cruel.  But the fact is, it's the only thing that He can do to enable us to die to our own strong self-will that gets us into trouble.  But...

The closer we come to letting God's Will become our own, the sooner we will have...

A New Day