Posts Tagged ‘Contentment’

Don’t Lose Your Capacity For Vulnerability

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Walk by FaithI resonated with this presentation by Brene’ Browne. I have and still do wrestle with believing that God is bigger than some of my problems and challenges I know God’s word is very clear that God is sovereign and in complete control. But, when I am facing real big, scary life issues, I can struggle with being patient, trusting God fully, trying to wrestle control away from him, and being content during these times of difficulty. I can struggle seeing and understanding that even in these trials God has a plan; a great and perfect plan to teach me, grow me, care for me, provide for me, protect me, and give me a future with his love, peace, hope, and joy.

“This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (Jeremiah 29:10-11 The Message)

The Fountain of Happiness and Joy

Friday, December 7th, 2012

“the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

The Price of Invulnerability

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Being vulnerable with those close to you and with God is critical to having joy in our lives and being happy in life and at work.

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.   Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;  don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;  he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all.  Run to God!  Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!  (Proverbs 3:5-8  The Message)

I discovered this video presentation that helps us practically understand why God’s word encourages us to open up our lives at a depth we not accustom to, to share our lives more intimately than the world tells us we should, and be vulnerable with our lives with those we love and care for, including our Heavenly Father.  I hope you find it helpful.

You Can Be a Hope Ambassador!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Having hope and offering hope to others  is perhaps the single most important key to experiencing true happiness.  I recently found a terrific description of hope written by James Goll of the Encounters Network, and published by the The Converging Zone Network.  I know you will be encouraged, as I was by Mr. Goll’s message of hope…it’s foundations, it’s benefits, and understanding how to obtain it !

Hope Ambassadors…

Theme verse: I Corinthians 13:13a (NASB): ”But now faith, hope, love, abide these three…”

In a time of great uncertainty, it is a necessity that we be people of hope. In recent years, we have had a good deal of teaching on faith and some on love, but the missing commodity in the Church is an understanding of HOPE.

It behooves us to look to the Lord in these days and call forth solutions to life’s problems. We must focus our gaze, not on the revival of evil, but we must set our gaze up higher and be a prophetic people with answers for today’s dilemmas. It is time to be Hope Ambassadors.

In my own life, I tend to be a parabolic prophetic person. As most of you know, I have gone through a severe “Job-like season” in the last decade of my life and ministry. I have been grappling with difficult things and complex questions. This has forced me to go back to the foundational bedrock of my faith. I declare that God is good all the time and that all things work together for good. Because these two foundational truths are laid firm in my life, I believe that the greatest level of purpose and impact is yet to come.

As I have found it necessary in my own life, so I believe it is necessary in many lives. It is time for teaching on good mental health in the Body of Christ! Yes, the world and the Church are both waiting for Ambassadors of Hope!

Definition of Terms:

Webster’s Dictionary states that “hope” means to cherish a desire with expectation of fulfillment.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Greek Words states that “hope” is a favorable and confident expectation, the happy anticipation of good.

Scriptural Foundations of Hope:

Ephesians 6:17 states as a vital part of the full armor of God, we are to put on the helmet of salvation.

I Thessalonians 5:8 gives us a commentary on this verse and tells us this is the helmet of the “hope of salvation.”

The Roman helmet that Paul the apostle makes reference to covered the ears and even the front of the forehead (or the mind). We are to filter what we hear through a positive expectation of good and thus be able to think on whatsoever things are true, honorable, right, pure, of a good report and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8). As a man thinks so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Therefore, it is imperative that we put on our HELMET OF HOPE.

Two Pictures of Hope:

Hebrews 6:17-20 (NASB) In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before usThis hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfastand one which enters within the veil, where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hope therefore is:

1. A place of refuge for mankind likened unto the Old Testament cities of refuge where people could flee and take hold of the “horns of the altar.”

2. An anchor of the soul – the mind, the will and the emotions.

A ship passes its anchor through the unstable element of water to the stable element of the Rock below. The world in which we live is like the water – unstable, impermanent, insecure, ever-changing and tossed around in its form. But hope in Christ Jesus is an anchor that passes out of eternity into time and fastens us to our foundation of bedrock below – to the Rock of Ages.

Hope is a Person!

Colossians 1:27 (NASB) …to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Titus 2:13 (NASB) …looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.

The Benefits of Hope:

Romans 8:24-25 (NASB) For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

We are saved by hope. We do not quit. We persevere because we are convinced by a greater reality than our temporary surroundings!

Romans 15:13 (NASB) Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in the hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Through faith, the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to abound in the amazing power of hope.

Colossians 1:27 says when you have “Christ in you” you have the hope of glory – a sure expectation of unending ages of glory in the presence of God.

Ephesians 2:12 (NASB) …remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.

The condition of the lost: without God, without Christ, and without hope.

Ephesians 1:17-19 says we can be filled with the hope of His calling in Christ Jesus. You are a person of destiny. Be filled with the positive expectation of good in your life. Something good is just about to happen!

Ways to Obtain Hope:

Romans 15:4 (NASB) For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Yes, through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we have great hope! Learn from our forefathers in the faith, and let hope arise!

Lamentations 3:21-24 (NASB) This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.”

Right now, recall the history of the Lord in your life. Declare the testimony of His goodness over your own life and that of your family. Recall. Remember. Declare the truth that He has never left you or forsaken you. Great is His faithfulness!

Wondering What to Give Jesus for His Birthday?

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

The following is from Matthew 25:31-40.  Jesus is teaching, and as he often does, he is doing so by using parables.  This passage is from the parable of the sheep and the goats.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne.  All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 

He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

In December of 2005 I was in Naples, Florida enjoying a golf trip with a group of friends.  We would rise early, go on a prayer and fellowship walk on the beach, grab breakfast, go play golf, grab dinner, then just hang out, fellowship, and wait for the next day to get up and do the same thing all over again.  it was a great trip!

But that is not not what I remember most about that trip.  If you recall, on August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina pushed ashore near New Orleans. We know now that Hurricane Katrina is the costliest  natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States.  Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall. At least 1,836 people died in the actual hurricane and in the subsequent floods, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane; total property damage was estimated at $81 billion nearly triple the damage wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.  The most significant number of deaths occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, which flooded as the levee system catastrophically failed, in many cases hours after the storm had moved inland. Eventually 80% of the city and large tracts of neighboring parishes became flooded, and the flood waters lingered for weeks.  I am sure many of us still have mental pictures in our mind of the destruction and of the tens of thousands of people wandering the streets after their homes had been destroyed or literally washed away.

Now flash forward to December of 2005.  I am in Naples Florida, staying in a nice condo, walking on the beach each morning, not worrying about my next meal, playing golf, and enjoying all the comforts and pleasures that Naples.  I wasn’t even thinking about Hurricane Katrina or the people of New Orleans and coastal areas of Louisiana and Mississippi.  That is until one morning on one of our prayer walks.

That particular morning God decide to speak to in a profound an life changing way.  As we walked along the beach, and as gazed west across the Gulf of Mexico toward New Orleans, God brought the circumstances there to mind and I began to have this dialog with Him.  I started to question why I was so fortunate to be where I was both literally (very comfortable in Naples) and metaphorically (healthy, wealthy, and with no real worries in life).  Why was I where I was, while those in New Orleans had lost everything (homes,belongings, and even loved ones) and were wandering the streets or living in make shift shelters not knowing what their future was.  Why am I blessed with plenty while others are not, and why am I not suffering great loss and hardship, while others are?  There was no good, reasonable answer. But, as I wrestled with God about this, he led me to the scripture above.  And while the scripture did not answer the question, (I have determined that I will never know the answer to the question) it did give me very clear direction about what I am to do because I am fortunate to be blessed by the God of the universe.

I knew from that day forward that one of my callings in life and one of the gifts God has blessed me with is to give; give of my finances, my time, and my talents to help those less fortunate.

It was really powerful too, because it was right at Christmas time and God spoke to me and said “It is my son Jesus’ birthday. Now you know what he wants most for his birthday; he told you in the words he spoke in that passage…“Truly I tell you, whatever you do for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you do for me.”

I have never felt so much freedom, joy, peace and happiness as when I am serving and giving to others.  I encourage you to consider my story and the words of Jesus this Christmas, and give Jesus the the gift he most desires!  I know that, when you do, you will be Happy at Work and in Life!

Merry Christmas and God’s Peace!

5 Tips For A Happier Work Day

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

 

We have been taught all our lives that in order for us to be successful and happy we must:

 

  • Study hard to
  • Get good grades, so we can
  • Get a good job and
  • Make lots of money, so we will
  • Become Successful, then
  • Retire and relax

 

How many of you are now discovering that this is a huge lie, and, in truth, has led to a life of being busy instead of productive, frustrated instead of successful, and unfulfilled instead of happy?

I know I did, and I hear it expressed everyday from people I know and people I meet. Let me be clear, I am not saying that we shouldn’t study diligently and endeavor to make good grades, or that there is anything wrong with earning a lot of money, being successful, and eventually retiring.  But, if we are simply blindly and furiously chasing after grades, money, success, and material things we think will keep us happy once we stop working, we are in for a huge disappointment.  This is the huge lie that so many buy in to, only to end up feeling empty and as though there life has or has had no real meaning or purpose.

So, if this is a huge lie, what is the truth? I believe that the truth is this:

  • God’s love for us is extravagant and immeasurable. And,
  • God created each one of us in His image. And,
  • God desires to have a close intimate relationship with us, and
  • He has a plan and purpose for our lives;
  • To share and demonstrate his love by loving and serving others. And, in addition,
  • God created all things, including work and wealth. And,
  • Work and our careers are an opportunity to both experience God’s love and to love and serve others, and when we are able to make this paradigm shift (from the huge lie to the wonderful truth),
  • Our work and careers will have new and eternal meaning and purpose, and
  • We will begin to look at our work, our families, and are lives in a whole new, exciting, and energized way!

So how might this look practically?  Jon Gordon, speaker, consultant and best selling author offer these five tips to being happier at work (comments in italics added):

Monday-

Focus on “Get to” instead of “Have to” – While driving to work focus on what you “get to” do instead of what you “have to” do. With gratitude realize that you don’t have to do anything. You get to go to a job while so many are unemployed. Gratitude floods your body and brain with emotions that uplift you and energize you rather than stress hormones that drain you.

Plus, remember you are blessed to be able to have the opportunity serve and be a blessing to all those you come into contact with during your day. God loves it when we live an others centered life, he views our commitment to demonstrate his love to others as an act of worship.

Tuesday-

Don’t Expect your Boss, Co-workers and Customers to Make you Happy – Realize that happiness is an inside job. Our happiness has less to do with forces outside of us and more to do with what’s inside of us. The way we think about work, feel about work and approach our work influences our happiness at work. For instance, just by making yourself smile you produce more serotonin in the brain-which makes you feel happier. You’ll also be happier when you focus on what you are giving instead of what you are getting.

Only Jesus truly satisfies; let him come alive in your heart and show you how living for his glory will bring true joy into your life. Live by the spirit, and produce fruit!

Wednesday-

Don’t Seek Happiness – Ironically if you want to be happier don’t seek happiness. Instead share your strengths and decide to work with passion and purpose and happiness will find you. The research shows that people are most energized when they are using their strengths for a bigger purpose beyond themselves. Whatever your job, decide to bring passion to it and find purpose in it. I’ve met bus drivers, mortgage brokers, janitors and fast-food employees who are more passionate about their jobs and happier than some professional athletes making millions of dollars. Every job will get mundane and “old” if you let it but purpose and passion keep it fresh and make you happier.

If we are willing God can use us no matter where or what we are doing.  God is a master gardener, and if we allow him, he will equip and enable us to bloom where we are planted!

Thursday-

Focus on Excellence instead of Success – When you focus on success you can easily fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others, looking over your shoulder, feeling envious, playing office politics, and competing against coworkers instead of collaborating. However, when you focus on excellence you measure yourself against your own growth and potential. You strive to be the best you can be. You simply focus on getting better every day and this makes work more meaningful and rewarding.

God is the ultimate designer, creator, engineer, and manufacture, resource manager, and relationship builder.  He is a God of excellence; just take a look around at his creation. Follow his example by using your unique gifting to all you do well…let god take care of the rest!

Friday-

Celebrate Together – While we shouldn’t depend on others to make us happy, by building a positive team or support group at work we will be happier. So instead of expecting others to make you happy, you proactively create the positive relationships that enhance your engagement, productivity and happiness. One great way to do this to huddle with your team/group at the end of the week and have each person share their accomplishments, victories, and great moments of the week. This will produce great feelings on Friday that inspire you and your team to come back to work and make a difference on Monday.

God is a God of relationship; he wants to know each of us intimately, and he wants all of his children to enjoy fellowship with one another, sharing our lives, praying for one another, encouraging one another, exhorting one another, and lifting our hearts up in praise!

What makes you happier at work? Share your thoughts…and have a happy week at home and at work.

What Are You Going To Do With This Jesus, Who Is The Christ?

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

The Bible says that because we are sinners we are hostile with God.  The Bible also tells us that God loved us so much, he made a way for that hostility to be removed so that we could have fellowship with him eternally.  That way, was to send his only son, Jesus, to live among us without sin, an unblemished lamb, then to die the ugliest of deaths on a cross for our sin, past, present, and future.  Jesus did that for you and for me, but the story does not end there.  God raised Jesus from the grave, defeating sin’s death grip on our lives, freeing us from the bondage of sin and giving us the free gift of eternal life and fellowship with him.  All we have to do is accept this free gift by acknowledging our sin, believing that Jesus died on the cross for those sins, and that by God’s mighty power is risen!

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Here is The Savior’s story as foretold by the prophet Isaiah (chapter 53):

1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?

2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.

8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:1-12)

Understanding that we have a Heavenly Father who went to such great lengths to provide a way for each of us to spend eternity with Him and a Savior who faithfully and obediently paid our sin debt is what prompted Paul to become the apostle he was and to spur us on with these words in Romans 12:1-2:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Paul understood that following Christ, even when it put him in the midst of trails and in harms way, was the only path to living a victorious, joy-filled life both on earth and in heaven. I pray that you have discovered what Paul discovered, and if you are still on your own journey, I hope you will consider getting to know the real Jesus. If you do, I know you will be Happy in life and at work.

 

Happy Easter and God’s peace…

Vulnerability The Key To Overcoming Shame

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

 

Have you ever know someone who lives in the oppressive shadow of shame and fear?  Do you live in that awful place?

As a kid, I was small and was teased and picked on.  I wanted so bad to belong, to be connected, and be loved by friends.  Don’t we all; it is how we are wired and why we exist.  But, I was never big enough, strong enough, good enough, cool enough, worthy enough.  The result was I remained disconnected, and struggled for a long time with fear and shame.  I spent a lot of my childhood trying to figure out how to get connected, and during that time life was hard and I was not very happy.  I did not feel loved, and began to believe that I was indeed not worthy…of belonging or of love. 

I learned and experienced first hand that fear and shame are very powerful emotions.  As those emotions become more prominent in my life, I experience less and less joy, happiness, and gratitude.  I can remember being angry and expressing my pain and discomfort through becoming quiet, reserved, and even hardened, I began doing many activities alone, and became determined to prove that I was worthy of belonging and of being loved. Surely, if I became good enough, people would want to connect with me.  Well, as you might guess, that was only marginally successful, and only with kids who were really not my friends.

My story is a long one, and thanks to God I have learned that my real worthiness come from him.  That his love and grace is sufficient for me.  That his love for me is wide, far and deep. That, as a child of the living God, I belong to him and his family.  And, that true peace and joy comes from knowing him.  As I allowed God to work in my heart, he showed me and helped me embrace vulnerability and authenticity, he showed me it is OK to be imperfect, to have the courage to connect to others through kindness and compassion, the share authentically in their lives.  As I did this (lived authentically and vulnerably), I found myself deeply connecting with lots of people.  I valued them and they valued me; my fear and shame was replaced with joy, happiness, and gratitude. God made me wholehearted!

So, I encourage everyone to personally connect with God to discover your true worthiness, and how he wants you to connect with others and discover your own greatness as part of his family.

Also, I recently stumbled upon this terrific presentation by researcher/story teller, Brene’ Brown.  I think it might also be helpful to you. God’s peace!

Blueprint For Our Lives

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

In the midst of everything that life has to throw at us, isn’t it good to know that God has it all under control. In fact, you could say that He has the blueprint for our life. We just need to give up control and trust him; walk in faith, a faith that holds on to God’s truths and promises. We need to stop striving, and start abiding in the one who creates us, loves us, and has a wonderful plan for our lives.

 

Jeremiah 29:11 says:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Stand By Me, You, Somebody

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)

Take a look at that first verse again; “I will never leave you nor forsake you”. It says “never”. That has been a tough one for me at times; admittedly, there have been times when I have been unhappy, sad, hurt, discouraged, dissapointed, disillusioned, afraid, lonely, or angry, and I have felt like God had foresaken me. But, without fail and at just the right time God always shows up! Oftentimes, he shows up in the form of a friend or family member, who knows just what I need, or don’t need.

Sometimes in life we just need someone to stand by us, not to do anything specifically, but just to know that they beleive in us and are willing to stand by us and with us. Do you have a friend or family member like that? I pray you do, and If so, I hope you recognize and acknowledge how blessed and fortunate you are. If you don’t, I pray God will meet that need; send you that special someone to stand by you, love you, and encourage you. I want you to pray for that too, then have faith and believe that God will help you find that “friend that sticks closer than a brother”.

Secondly, and just as important, I hope you will take the time to be that friend for someone else in their time of need…because no matter who we are or where we go…at some point we all need somebody to standy us. Do this and I know you will be happy in life and at work.

Playing For Change: Song Around the World “Stand By Me” from Playing For Change on Vimeo.