General

Define your FUTURE. FORGET your past.

We spend too much time thinking about our past that we neglect to appreciate our present. Why is it that we allow our past to define our character and control our emotions & actions towards others? It is almost as if we are expecting a different outcome or we are hoping that if we think about it long enough that our experiences and situations from our past would have changed. The truth is our past is gone.

Holding on to our past hurt prevents us from moving on.  We must learn to value our past experiences and what we were able to learn from them. Isn’t that point of life?  Live and learn? You cannot fully live your life if you cannot learn from your experiences, even the experiences that you wish would have never happened at all. When we are able to forget our past, we open a whole world of opportunities for personal growth and a brighter future.

Philippians 3:13-14

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Our pasts are made to keep us there, but if we move forward, God has already prepared our future and reward. For us to continue our journey in life, we must forget our past.  Dwelling on our past prevents us from living the life that God wants us to.  Holding on to our past slows us down from our walk with God. There is nothing we can do about our past, but there is enough that can be done to strengthen our relationship with God.

Each and every one of us has gone through hurt, pain, and had a slew of negative experiences that have shaped the way we are today.  But we cannot let those negative experiences from our past paralyze us from our future.

It’s not easy to forget our past and it’s not something that miraculously happens over night.  It is often difficult for us to forget our memories, failures, disappointments, and hurt.  Because we keep those things buried in our minds, we are unable to progress into our future. Not only that, but dwelling on our past destroys our inner peace and fills it with guilt.

God is our hope and our future. God wants us to get rid of our hurt and guilt of our past so our lives can fully begin.  Each and every minute we spend on this Earth is a miracle and blessing from God. Moving forward is not easy but it doesn’t have to be impossible. No matter what we’ve been through, there is always a choice to live a more purposeful and peaceful life.

Regardless of what has happened in our past, we need to close the door and open a new chapter, a chapter that is filled with the glory and love of God.

We must define our future by forgetting our past. We are only given one life, why spend it dwelling on things that we cannot change?

 

Take a stand

Stand firm in your faith, or you will not stand at all.

Standing up for what we believe in is the best form of self expression.  Taking a stand for the things we are passionate about and never giving up on our morals and values that make us who we are, are one of the best qualities we can have in this life. In life, we are faced with numerous situations that can force us to compromise our beliefs.  Whatever we believe, we must stand firm in them.

Our beliefs determine how we act and how we feel. They also determine our perception of the world around us.  Happiness comes from a positive outlook about our life and the world we live in. We must do our best to ensure that our actions are an accurate reflection of our beliefs. We must be quick to stand up for the beliefs we hold so dearly.

When we live in tune with our beliefs, God will guide our steps, balance our priorities, and protect our hearts.

There is no one else out there like us. We are our own person and we should never be afraid of who we are and what we feel. During our struggles others will try and drag us down but we must use it as an opportunity to take a stand and fight!  With God’s light in our hearts, our souls are unbreakable. We must not let others break us for our beliefs. Not everyone will listen and  people  will laugh, but we must never surrender our beliefs.  We cannot let others change us or make us doubt our beliefs. We must be confident in our faith and most importantly in God.

Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible Corrie ten Boom

We must stand firm in our faith or not stand at all.  Only through God can  we find the strength to stand.  Take a stand today!

2 Timothy 1:12

I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.

 

 

A Bitter Spirit

Ephesians 4:31-32

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Bitterness is a hard burden to carry. It is often hard to let go of our past & be resentful to the ones who have hurt us than to forget and forgive.  Being bitter towards others is a characteristic we develop through our experiences. There are people who have gone through a lot of hardships and hurt in their life, but are still able to maintain a grateful and beautiful spirit and there are others who have faced the same hardships and hurt and have chosen a life of bitterness that has ultimately destroyed their soul. When we choose bitterness over forgiveness, we are allowing the ones that have hurt or wronged us to control and consume our lives. We hold on to that resentment so much that it begins to grow and take root in our hearts.

Forgiveness is hard. When we have been hurt so badly that the very hurt has poisoned our hearts and spirit, it is hard to let go and forgive.  As humans, we find it difficult to practice the act of forgiveness because we think that because we choose to forgive, that we are letting the person know who have hurt us that it was okay for the hurt. It is possible to forgive others without reconciliation.  However, forgiveness is ultimately about restoration of our spirit.

It takes time for us and our minds to find peace from our past experiences. But, the amount of time it takes ultimately depends on us. When we allow ourselves to hang onto the hurt, we are allowing  our spirit to become infected. We must purposely and willingly let go of our past and place it in God’s hands.

Bitterness destroys our spiritual energy and our relationship with God. Bitterness shows a complete lack of grace that we as Christians should gravitate towards. We should want to live a more peaceful and joyous life without the poison of bitterness in our hearts.

We should replace bitterness with love, kindness and forgiveness. God’s love can help deliver us from the sin of bitterness and help restore our spirit. God is the one that can make things right and free us from the burden of bitterness. We must thank God everyday for the many blessings he pours into our lives and concentrate on those things instead of the negative. When we do, the joy in our life will slowly return and we will slowly learn to reject bitter feelings.

Learning the power of forgiveness can renew our soul and rejuvenate our spirit. Let bitterness go and forgive someone today.

Spiritual affirmations for positive change

Developing a positive mindset is one of the most powerful life strategies there is. Practicing affirmations is a great way of increasing our happiness and all the good things we desire in our life.  Affirmations can have a lasting impact on our life and our goals but only if they are used correctly. Every minute of the day we are affirming beliefs to ourselves and the content of those beliefs are within our control.

The most powerful words that we can speak in our life are the words from God.  God is our Creator and knows us better than anyone else and He knows best how to affirm us and build us up. No matter what our situations are or what we need, there is always an answer in God’s word for us. Speaking God’s truth over our life has the power to deliver and heal us from bad situations, renew our mind and change our life for the better.

Examples:

I know that God cares for me and will meet my needs because I am precious to Him

God wants me to be happy

I am where God wants me to be. I am in the right place at the right time, doing what I’m supposed to be doing

God is protecting and directing me

I am doing my best. That is all God expects of me.

My whole life is prayer.

I am saved by God’s grace.

I let go of fear. I let go of pain. I live in love.

I am responsible for my own spiritual growth

Spiritual affirmations help us achieve a peaceful and happy life that helps us draw closer to God.  They enlighten the soul and help us affirm our faith in God. Spiritual affirmations are a good way to rid of our negative thought patterns that are keeping us in a state of unhappiness, anger, and bitterness.  God gives us spiritual energy everyday and using this energy to create a more positive change in our world is exactly what we are intended to be doing for His will. Spiritual affirmations assist our journey toward manifesting happiness into our lives.

Spiritual affirmations help us focus on what we desire and help us believe in ourselves the way God believes in us.  If we use spiritual affirmations frequently and daily, it will help us manifest what we want most in our lives.

On our journey for spiritual growth, spiritual affirmations can help us arrive at our destination with peace, simplicity and love.

A healthy you, a happy God

1 Corinthians 10:31

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God

There are many reasons why we should take care of our bodies and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Living a healthy lifestyle takes hard work and patience. When that lifestyle becomes habit it becomes second nature and we reap the benefits and rewards of living a healthy lifestyle to maintain a happier life.

Living a healthy lifestyle is the best goal in the world because when we’re healthy, we are happy in our own skin.  Living a healthy lifestyle goes hand in hand with our level of happiness in life. Our physical health affects not only our own self-image but our mental and emotional health too.  When we do not take care of our bodies it damages our spiritual health which balances both.

Being and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a choice and we should make the choice to honor our body and God’s temple. God has given us our bodies and we are responsible for taking care of it. When we take care of our bodies we feel healthy and strong.  When we practice healthier habits, our bodies feel energized and we’re able to get more done and live out our purpose in life to better serve God.

Our faith in God plays an important part in how we manage our health. Our body is a miracle that God has blessed us with and so is our life.  If we love our body and care about our life, we have to take care of our bodies.

God needs our bodies strong in Christ, mind, body, and spirit.  The healthy choices we make today will impact our body and our future.  God wants us healthy and well and equipped for His kingdom. We must begin today by taking small steps to get in better shape for Christ.

Know God. Know Happiness.

God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. C.S. Lewis

Our happiness revolves a great deal around the relationships that exist in our lives.  We are so dependent on those relationships that we depend on them as the only source to our happiness. When people in our life hurt us it seems our entire world falls apart around us and we are left feeling empty and void. The truth is we cannot survive in this life if we depend on someone else for our happiness.  We have to find our own happiness and we can only do that through God.

We must learn what it means to be our own person outside of our relationships so if that person walks away, we can stand on our own two feet and come out stronger because of it. We cannot depend on others to make us happy. Expectations lead to disappointment and other people will let us down.

God never does.

Our source of happiness should come from God and through our relationship with Him.  We live under the impression that we have the right to be happy and that the people in our life have an obligation to give it to us. When those people fall short, we place the blame entirely on them when in all honesty, they do not control our happiness, we do.  Creating and finding our happiness through God is not only the best way to know what happiness really is, but it’s the only way. Being complete in the Lord allows us to find our own sense of fulfillment and helps us find own source of happiness without relying on others to provide the happiness we very well deserve.

Happiness doesn’t come from seeking others but from seeking God.  Our happiness here on Earth is dependent on different elements that shape our lives, whether it’s our family, our children, our spouse/significant other, etc. However, there is only one God and He should be at the forefront for obtaining and knowing what happiness is.

God is the main ingredient to find the happiness we want most in this life. He wants us to seek Him first and He wants to be the one to give us our happiness. When we seek out happiness apart from God we not only slip farther away from Him but we also draw farther away from our only real hope for happiness.  God loves us and wants us to be happy and there is no greater love than the love of God.

We must begin putting God first to live a happier life.  When we truly know God, only then can we truly know what happiness really is.

Psalm 37:4

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

The light at the end of the tunnel

Psalm 18:28

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

In  our life it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when we become filled with doubt and frustration. In these times we start to question our existence and life itself seems dull and unfulfilled.  Moving through the tunnel of life we have often feel confined and imprisoned. We have been limited by our time and relive moments from our past that prevent us from looking ahead and seeing the light.

In life itself it seems that we have no way to change our place or position and often feel stuck. We are rushing through this tunnel of life but still feel confined by our circumstances that weigh us down and keep us from moving towards our light.  Whether we like it or not, we have to keep moving.

As we move through our tunnel, it is crucial for us to see some light at the end.  We cannot hope for a light at the end of our tunnel without faith in God.  We have to believe that there is a light at the end before we can truly see and experience it. We must develop the virtue of patience and the ability to wait until the light at the end of the tunnel shines brightly for us again, even if in the moment it is hard to see. 

When we find ourselves in the dark tunnel of life’s hardships, we must focus on the light at the end of our tunnel and trust that God has already done everything to get us there. There will be shadows of darkness but God is unfailing at showing us His light

Encouragement: Oxygen to the Soul

Come meet the God of encouragement. He loves you. He never gives up on you, especially when life is hard, because he has been there. The hand that reaches out to comfort you is a pierced one.Max Lucado

1 Thessalonians 5:11, 14

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing … We urge you, … encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

Have you ever known someone who believed in you and frequently encouraged you? The kind of person that made you feel like you could overcome anything, no matter what it was? This is the kind of person God wants us to be.

Words have an impact on us and our spirit.  Our mouths are the fountain of life and we should encourage others with our words. When we speak, we should make every attempt possible to be positive in our words and be encouraging, not critical.

The ability to encourage people is a gift and a blessing and can drastically change a person’s life.  It is part of our journey to encourage others in the way God encourages us.  When we have the ability to build up those who are hurting it ultimately makes us feel better too.  We should make it a point in our daily lives to encourage, not hurt. Build up, not tear down, and uplift, not destroy.

God is the one that encourage us so that we can comfort and encourage others. That is the purpose of encouragement.

Encouragement is oxygen to the soul, encourage and uplift someone today.

A Clutter-Free Life

We were created to reflect the image of God. Some things in our life may need to be removed so that His image can be seen more clearly.

In life, we allow a lot of mental, emotional, and psychological clutter to accumulate preventing us from finding inner peace.  A cluttered life is a life that we do not have any control of.  It is a life in which things we are surrounded by use up our time and are controlling us and negatively influencing our happiness and our eternal progress.

A cluttered life can consist of many things that do not contribute to our inner growth. A lot of the clutter can stem from focusing on our past and things we cannot change or being distracted and worried by a future that has yet or may never happen.

God’s plan for us is a plan of simplicity. We must clear away the clutter in our lives and regain control over it.  We must use our will power and say no to the things that steal away our happiness. Our life is merely a probationary period for our eternal life in Heaven and a wonderful gift of time in which we should learn to act like God by following the word of Christ.  The path in life in which God leads is not a path that is cluttered. It is simple and lighted by the Spirit.

We need to sit down with ourselves and make a list of things that get in the way of our inner and spiritual growth.  This list must follow the pattern of God’s Word and contain elements needed for our eternal salvation.  This list should include things that we really need in our life versus the things we just want.  We need to examine all the ways in which we utilize our time, our work, and our goals in life. More importantly, we can only maintain a healthy relationship with God if we spend a significant amount of time alone with Him every day. If we do not build space in our days to allow our relationship with God to mature, we will never able to maintain a clutter free life. We need to get rid of everything that is useless or doesn’t contribute to our happiness and our relationship with God.

As we follow God’s direction, we must clear out the clutter that complicates our life and prevents us from living in peace so we can live out our purpose.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

God’s Guiding Light

Because of stress, problems, and worries it is easy for us to get lost.  But because God loves us, He will give us guidance when we are lost.

Isaiah 30:21

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

When we don’t know which way to turn, God will gently pull at our hearts and lead us in the right direction. God knows what direction is best for us and will guide our paths to get there.  We can make it successfully and victoriously if we trust God’s guidance.

There are a lot of complex and often confusing turns in the road of our lives that will test our commitment to God.  We are encouraged to get to know God on a personal level and to enter into fellowship with Him. When we do, He will clear the obstacles we find in our path and help us move forward.  God guides us in our everyday lives, in every decision, and every action we make. We are faced with major decisions and sometimes fail to trust God completely preferring to decide for ourselves what is the best course of action to take.  God not only builds the paths in life we will take, but He is also with us every step of the way.  God is involved in every step of our journey.

At times when facing trial, we make decisions that are not in our best interest. We turn from the obvious truth and try to find our own course of action that we feel is best for our problems. We take it all on, carry the burden, struggle through, and eventually crash.  God is gracious enough to walk along beside us, nudge us slightly and say “Hey, remember me? Why don’t you count on ME instead to help you?” When we are living His way, our struggles and challenges are easier to deal with.

John 16:13

But when He, (A)the Spirit of truth, comes, He will (B)guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

No matter what, always know that God has a good plan for our lives. We need to spend time in prayer asking Him to reveal His plan.  Remember that God speaks in a small still voice in our hearts and even in difficult times, we should remain confident that He is always directing our steps.

Psalm 32:8

I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;

I will counsel you with My eye upon you

God wants to guide us and show us that yes, we can make it on our own but only if our faith is in Him and our path is lightened by His word.

Christ-Like Attitude

Philippians 2:1-5

1 Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

As Christians, we have been taught with regard to our former way of life, to take off our old self, which has been corrupted by deceitful desires to be made in the new attitude of our minds and to put on our new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Simply put, our attitudes should be the same of Jesus Christ.

We should reject attitudes that are in poor reflection of our character.  Negativity, being critical of others, impatience, apathy, discouragement, arrogance, self-centeredness, and rudeness are attitudes that we, as Christians should reject.  Our attitudes are something only we and God can work through. A change must take place within to have better attitudes about our circumstances and our life. The right attitude to have when difficult times happen is to persevere in our faith and draw closer to God. Trouble will never defeat someone with the right attitude.

Our attitudes towards life, our circumstances, and towards others should always be like God’s. We should bring our attitudes into obedience with God’s Word and apply discipline to our thoughts. Positive attitude is a matter of faith and disregarding our feelings with a determination to embrace God’s outlook and disposition. We should maintain a perfect attitude in every situation, pray about everything and worry about nothing. God wants us to grow spiritually, to become like Christ and to transform our minds into the attitude of godliness.

Our attitudes are important to the kind of testimony we have for being a Christian.  Where our attitudes fall on the attitude scale says a lot about who we are and a lot about our walk with God.  If our relationship with God is growing and strong, we are bound to have a more positive attitude. If we are strong in our faith and are pouring God’s Word into our minds and into the lives of others regularly, there is no time for us to complain, be critical, and negative.

In a perfect world, most of us, all of us, would be positive all the time. But, this is simply not the case. Bad things happen and can take a toll on us if we are not careful. All of us need an attitude check occasionally to make sure we stay positive no matter our circumstances. As a Christian, we have so much to be thankful and positive about.  We have hope and the promise of eternal life.

Our old self is negative, let’s pull it off.  Our new self is given to us with a new attitude and mind. Like Jesus Christ, it is positive and encouraging. By God’s grace, let’s maintain a positive attitude for the glory of Christ!  A positive attitude leads to a better life no matter the circumstance, a Christ-Like attitude leads to glory in Heaven.

Treasured Gift of Friendship

Proverbs 18:24

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Genuine friendship involves a strong sense of care, concern and desire to see another person grow and succeed in all aspects of their life.  Friendship means doing something for someone else, expecting nothing in return and sharing our thoughts and feelings without fear of judgment or criticism.  Friendship takes time to get to know each other, time to build shared memories, and time to invest in each other’s personal growth. 

Friends make our hearts glow and make our lives wonderful. They are there to make us laugh and are there to lean on when we’re sad.  Real friends understand us and are there when we need them the most.  Friendship is sharing unconditional love for each other and making life’s burdens lighter.

Friendship is a comfortable situation like home. When our lives are stressful and filled with chaos, at the end of the day, we can rely on our friends to provide us peace. When we think of home we think of a place of safety and shelter. Friendship provides that for us when we are troubled or distressed.  “Home is where the heart is” and so is our friendship with others.

Friendship is about quality, not quantity. It is not the quantity or amount of friends we have that is important, it is the quality. We are better off having one or two good, solid, quality friends than 20 friends who are not as good.  We need friends to help keep our lives on track.  Without a doubt, true friends can and will improve our lives. Good friends are like our armor, they make us invincible and capable of warding off the blows life occasionally hands us.

Friendship takes commitment. Every important connection with someone else begins with commitment. We need people in our life who are considerate and committed.  But there is only one way we’re going to get people like this in our lives: We have to be that kind of friend first.

God wants us to befriend others. He calls us to be His hands and feet in a world starving for true friendship.  Friendships are important to God’s plan for our well being.  If we’re going to have good relationships with others, we have to work at it. We are going to have to intentionally make a point of investing our time and effort into the lives of our friends.

Friendship is a two way street. How we treat our friends goes hand in hand with how we want to be treated.  Friendship is about mutuality. You never wonder whether your friend genuinely cares for you because they not only tell you but show you too.

Just as God longs to establish a close, intimate friendship with us, we should long to establish a close, intimate friendship with others.  God is a friend worth having and so are people in our lives who are worthy of having as our friends.

Do you have what it takes to be a good friend?

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.