I Have A Choice

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My pastor’s sermon this past Sunday was centered on living life joyously.  A well-planned and appropriate topic as we enter into our holiday months which features thanksgiving, joy, peace, and love.  Normally I am right there with his sentiment, but I am falling short this time.

Generally, I am the glass is half full kind of gal.  I always look for the positive in any circumstance.  But recently, I feel like the cheerleader in me is sitting on the sidelines with a big pouty face, and no rah-rah left in her.  So starts the pity party.

I know, first world problems, right?

I am truly blessed.  I have a beautiful family, my health, a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in my belly (maybe a little too much).  So what is wrong with me?

I need a little perspective adjustment and to CHOOSE my attitude.  It is all about choices for me.

When I am melancholy (and we all experience it at one time or another) I have to face the fact I am not in a right state of mind and need to focus on finding my way back to appreciating my blessed life.  How do I do this?

PRAY-I don’t always feel like doing this, but it is a must.  It helps me re-center, recognize and find my joy.  I am able to lay down my blues and woes to Jesus and leave them at His feet.  I can release the sadness and worries and lighten my load.  It may not be overnight, but I eventually fill up with His truth and am reminded I am adored.

READ-Another choice I make is to read the bible.  It is full of stories of how others who have experienced similar circumstances chose God and walked with Him, regardless of the outcome.  Life is not perfect and the bible is full of examples of poor choices, forgiveness, redemption, and fulfillment.  God’s mercy and grace gives me the ability to acknowledge I have a pretty awesome life and should be thankful and humble about my reality.

ACT-A third choice for me is helping others in need.  Volunteering is a way for me to provide compassion and concern for another person and demonstrate God’s love for all of His people.  When I can feed the homeless, take supplies to hurricane victims, and pray for the sick and grief-stricken, I am reminded how wonderful is my situation and how I need to give back to the less fortunate.

Bottom line is I have a choice in my perspective and attitude and know what I need to do to keep myself positive and uplifted.  Guess what?  I am feeling more positive now after reminding myself of what I need to do in order for my desired outcome.  If you find yourself sometimes feeling the same way, give it over to God and see what He can do for you.  I would love to hear any suggestions which help you change a downer day into a grandiose celebration.  Please leave a comment below.  Blessings!

“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”. Romans 12:11-12

 

*The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

BE THE LIGHT

Be the light

“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”-Matthew 5:16 NIV

I despise the word hate.  I try to not use it in my vocabulary because as I say to my kids, “Hate is such a strong word.”  I prefer to use I don’t like or I don’t care for instead of the four letter H word.  In the Merriam-Webster Dictionary hate is defined as intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from FEAR, ANGER, or sense of injury. HHHMMM, what does this describe?  Our present world and society.  People not understanding other people’s views, opinions, lifestyles, and religious beliefs lash out in hate for the fear of the unknown.   Social and news media in general pounce on hatred events and fuel the fire with speculation and prejudice.  Before you can count to ten, situations have been exploited, intensified, and created division between one another.  All of the negative reports of people hating on other people can be so discouraging and overwhelming.  What can I do?

PRAY– I love the term prayer warrior.  When praying for others, I imagine myself strapping on the armor of God and heading to battle.  God hears our prayers and I know He answers.  And the great thing about prayer is I can pray for anyone around the world, at a moment’s notice, from southern Louisiana and not leave my home.  This is why the church, bible study groups, prayer circles are so important to God.  “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”-Matthew 18:19-20 NIV

LOVE-So easy to say; so hard to do.  Yes, we should show love to ALL.  The terrorists, rapists, murderers, and thieves are children of God.  The man who cuts you off in traffic, the women in the grocery line who is yelling at the cashier, the parents on the opposing soccer team screaming unkind words to your child, they are children of God.  God expects me to be kind and show love-EVERY TIME.  I have to ask Him for strength during these moments and hold my tongue.  There are times I won’t show love like I should, but I have to strive for this level of forgiveness and empathy daily.  “ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44-45 NIV

BLESS-I have found in serving others it blesses both me and them.  Sure I have planned events which I volunteer, but I am talking about the spur of the moment acts such as allowing someone to pull out in front of you on the road, or carrying a dinner tray for a mother who has small children bouncing around her while carrying a baby.  My husband makes a point when he sees someone from the military approach them, shake their hand, and thank them for their service.  It is such a blessing for him and he is sincere in his appreciation for their sacrifice. I should take the time to serve others without any desire of praise.   “But I tell you who hear me:  Love your enemies, do good to those who hate, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28 NIV

I know this sounds like an optimistic, make believe solution to a larger than life evil problem.  If Jesus could show love and compassion to everyone, why can’t I?  Why can’t I choose to love my brother and sister regardless of how they treat me?  It has to start somewhere and I am the one who can control my thoughts and actions.  I can be the light and shine God’s love to others in this sad, cruel, and unfair world.

I would love to pray for you-check out my prayer request page.  Blessings!

Rainbows Make Me Smile

rainbow

Ephesians 2:4 “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved”.

It was a typical summer day in Southern Louisiana; hot, sticky, sunny with a rain shower.  I am driving with the windshield wipers on high swishing away the pounding drops of water. Did I mention I have on my sunglasses in an attempt to keep the glare out of my eyes?    As I made my way down the road, the beating of the raindrops subsided and there in front of me was a glorious band of colors stretching from one side of the road to the other.  There were green, blue, yellow, and red streaks stretching across the sky like a colorful banner as a result of the combination of rain and sun.  I smiled and said, “Thank you, God.”

Every time I see a rainbow, it makes me stop and think about God’s promise to all living creatures.  In Genesis 9, God declares to Noah a covenant with life on earth, and never again will there be a flood to destroy all.   “I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind.  Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.  Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”- Genesis 9:15-16.

What a glorious promise!  God is faithful in His grace and mercy and to have the added bonus of no more destructive floods to remove all mankind just sweetens the pot!  What if every time I witness a rainbow, I promise to spread the gospel, tend to the sick, assist the poor, or pray for others?  It would be my promise to not hide the Truth for fear of persecution, but to live and testify to God’s word.  I would not judge others, but love all walks of life, with no exceptions.  As a Christian, I may not agree with everyone’s opinion, but I can l love and show compassion to others and agree to disagree.

Anytime I see a rainbow; across the sky, on a flag, shirt, or a website, I will look at it as God’s promise to save this world from a destructive force which would wipe out all living creatures.  I see the rainbow as a symbol of hope and God’s compassion for mankind.  Psalm 145:9 states, “The Lord is good to all; He has compassion on all he has made”.    I daily receive His mercy and should pass it on to others.

My prayer is next time you witness a rainbow, it will remind you of God’s love and mercy. Maybe it will inspire you to extend compassion and mercy to others and be the rainbow in someone’s cloudy day.

Now that makes me smile!