An Uncertain Life; A Certain God

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Recently it has been on the news about how there was a shooting at a congressional baseball practice. Thankfully there were no fatalities, but in just a moment lives changed. A place that was considered safe was no longer safe; the future that seemed certain in a moment became uncertain. I have family that could have been there and in the moments between seeing the news and being able to contact them, I was worried.

This incident got me to thinking.  You never know what the day will bring.  One moment we are planning the future and what it will hold, the next it is drastically changed. Throughout the bible we are told that we don’t know what tomorrow will hold.  James 4:14, Proverbs 27:1 and Ecclesiastes 7:14 are just a few of the places that we see that we are not in control of our future. I think that Tim Tebow said it well when he said, “I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.”

This whole perspective can be scary: that everything can change in the blink of an eye.  But there are two ways that we can respond.  We can live in fear or we can live in freedom.  Why these two drastic positions? When we look at our uncertain lives, we could be paralyzed by the fact that we don’t have control of our lives.  For me, there is a pendulum effect; at times it is so freeing to know that I cannot mess up God’s plan and at other times I really wish that I could control my life.

How we live our life is a choice!   We can choose to live it in fear or freedom.  Choose to be scared about what every minute holds, or trust that every minute and our whole life is being guided by the One who made the world.  When you think about our finite life, what do we have to worry about?  God placed the sun in the sky, He knows the past, the present and the future.  There is nothing that surprises Him.  He has known us before we were born and He knows the number of hairs on our head.  When we have a God that knows all the details of the world, how can we worry that what we are doing is going to throw Him for a loop.

In this uncertain life, I have certainty.  Certainty that God loves me, that I can trust in Him for everything.  Certainty that He has a plan and that while I don’t see it, it is something amazing.  Certainty that my life is in His control and that He is my protector.  Psalm 23:4 talks about how we should live our lives, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Also, the whole of Psalm 91 describes how protected we are by our God.

We should live every day of this uncertain life in the certainty of Christ.

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How Much Do You Care?

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Over the past few weeks there has been a phrase that has been repeated multiple times.  It is not a new one, but the true impact of it has been really coming to life. I was first told this in high school by a debate coach, “People don’t care how much you know, until the know how much you care.”

I work in corporate America and one of the most common ways that corporate America is described is a “dog eat dog” world. The phrase “it’s not personal, it’s business” is all too common. Many people feel that you have to do whatever you can, whenever you can to get ahead.  Unfortunately, this is just a downward spiral. The more you are willing to do anything, the more other’s will do just the same or more.  But what if we start showing how much we care about others?

What if we stopped for a minute to see the person in our coworker?  I think that we could radically change the business environment. I mean we spend the majority of our life with our coworkers,

I am blessed to work in a company where we do actually care about each other.  When I sprained my ankle last month, I was constantly being asked how I was doing and how I was taking care of my ankle. It didn’t take anyone long, but for me it meant so much.  They cared about how I was doing as a person, not just if my work was going to get done, or if they could use this to get ahead of me.

This whole concept plays into every part of our life. Instead of worrying about our image, or what people think of us, we should be thinking about how we are impacting others.  All over my Facebook feed I see people sharing video’s about the little acts of kindness, but sharing a video is not enough.  We actually need to be the kindness in our world.

How you ask?

In the small things. Hold the elevator door just a moment longer, give up your seat on the train, ask your coworker or neighbor or friend how they are doing AND really listen. It doesn’t take long and it doesn’t have to cost a dime, just be kind.

We all want to succeed in life, but let’s just start with caring. You never know the lives that you will touch.  “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” Hebrews 13:2.  It may be one act of kindness a week or a day, but the more we do, the more it becomes a habit.

I would love to hear about your acts of kindness! How are you showing that you care?

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Happy Oblivion

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We live in a world of happy oblivion. We don’t know what our neighbors are going through and we would rather it that way. To know would be a burden… A cloud on our otherwise easy life. 

Now before you write me off and before you stop reading, let me explain. Today on my way into the grocery store, I was stopped by a lady asking if I could help her buy some food. She was in a car with her family of 5 including a newborn. My first reaction was to tell her I didn’t have time or money to do so. But the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 25:40 went through my head. “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” This was followed quickly by the words of Mark 12:31, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  She wasn’t asking for money or anything big, just some kind of food. 

After I returned with some food, I was able to say a prayer for them. I don’t know if it meant anything to them, if they had even ever heard the name of Jesus, or if knew who I was praying to, but then again, maybe it could change their life. 

I was walking away when I realized, we live world of oblivion… Happy oblivion. There are people all around us in need of help or just a kind word. We rather not know, because then we have to make a choice. Ignore or take action! 

Whether you see it or not, I am telling you now, your neighbor is in need. Now it is your choice ignore it, or take action, but no longer is oblivion an option

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Headline Goals

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What are your goals in life? How long will they last? Can they disappear? Can they be lost? 

  One of my professors was teaching about decision making and what he said stuck with me. “Is the action you are taking something you would want or at least be ok with being headline news?” Wow!! I am not sure that I would want some of my actions put on the front page. 

  I have also realized that this does not just apply to action, but inaction too. If would I want to world told what I did not do?  What might the headlines say. Haley Failed to Help Another In Need. Haley Too Preoccupied to Be Greatful. These may not be “earth shattering”, but they are not wonderful either. 

  I think everyone seeks validation and notice from others. We want people to see what we are and think we are something wonderful, talented, beautiful, smart… So many things. But what if we focused more on character. To be worth knowing, not well known. Sealing each day to set goals and live a life worthy of the headlines. 

 

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Challenged 

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  Life is not always easy, but that does not mean that it is bad. I am thankful for the challenges, thankful for the people who push me.  It is not during the easy parts of life that we become better people. It is through the struggles and the triumphs that we become more. 

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Far better it is to dare might things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” 

It is when we are challenged that we rise to the occasion. It is when we are challenged we find what we are capable of. It is when we are challenged that we see something new. To never face a challenge is to never push ourselves, to never find our full potential.

Challenges are not just physical things that get in our way. It could be a word from a friend, a word in a book or a line in a song. Challenges are what motivate us to change. To be challenged is to live and to live is to be challenged. 

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Don’t Waste It

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I have just started reading the book Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. So when I came across this, it really struck home. What do we do with our lives? Did we live the day with each hour and minute and second that it holds to the fullest? If it was our last would we be happy?  

 

For me this means even more though. To me I wonder did I live each moment of this day for Christ. Sadly, over and over again I come up short. I get caught up in myself and my life, what I want and need.

   Jesus told us to not worry about what tomorrow holds. This is freedom, from worry, but not freedom to do just anything. We need to live each day for Him. To the best of our ability to do what would honor and please Him. This can come in many ways. It can come from doing our job well, from caring for others, from sharing His word. He has called each of us in a different way to live for Him. 
  Our time is limited and precious. We need to understand this and fully use the time given to us. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says “You are bought with price: therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”  Today is precious, wasted time cannot be recovered. The challenge is: use your time wisely. 

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Walls

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The difficulty of our situation is NEVER too big for God.

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Your Story

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Dr. Seuss

I have been to many places and seen many things, from the Normandy beaches, which reminded me of those who fought for freedom, to the tropical island of Fiji where I saw God work in miraculous ways. Each new place, every new city, all the people I have met; change my life. In England I learned the value of loving my work, Africa taught me the joy of quietly observing.

If asked which was my favorite place… honestly… I couldn’t say. I loved every country I visited, each had something new and different to offer.

Different.

Often people stereotype about this country’s culture or that country’s food, but they are supposed to be different. If each place or person were the same, life would be incredible boring!

You don’t have to leave the country or even your town to find someone different than you. At school, work, the grocery store, we encounter a multitude of people. Do we stop to consider… Who are they? What is their story? What makes them unique?

I don’t understand society today, we don’t want to talk to people, we don’t want to share who we are, but we will post on Facebook or Instagram what we had for breakfast. Does this really make sense? We go around not knowing people and not caring enough to ask.

I wonder what would the world be like if we took the time to care?

If we took the time out of our day to stop and ask, what is your story?

What makes you…well…you?

I could visit every country in the world and every city each country and never find two people who were the same. Each person is unique with their own story and from each person’s story we can learn and grow. So, I would like to know.

WHAT IS YOUR STORY?

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Testimony

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A Testimony is “an open acknowledgment or a public profession of religious experience.”  For many years I thought that a testimony was only about when I first came to know the Lord, when I made my confession of faith.  Recently, I have been brought to the understanding that a testimony is not just about that one time, but anytime that we see God working in our lives.

At church and in my small group we have been discussing the power in sharing our testimonies.  Many people are scared to share what they have been through, to be that open. In the church today, we share our edited testimonies.  We share what has been good, the beauty of our lives, but we don’t share the struggles.  It is important to realized that each testimony is as different as each person and each is powerful in a different way.  No matter how small or insignificant we think we are, the truth is we have power in the Lord.

It is time that we share our testimonies.  Time to share the TESTs that we have been through.  When we share, we impact those around us, we change the lives of others.  When we step out of our comfort zone and become open about where we have been and what God has done, there is power.  God is the only one who can take our tests and our trials and turn them into something good.  He turns what we would call a difficulty into strength and power!

Challenge:   What is your testimony? Have you shared your testimony recently? Will you share it now?

 

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Good Morning!!!

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good morning

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Ok, I know that it is not morning right now, but today I was inspired by the morning.  I will tell you right now, I do not like early mornings.  I am a night owl…going to sleep at midnight is pretty much normal.  Part of this is because my brain functions better at night, so I do all of my studying then.  What is the point?

This morning my alarm sounded at 6:30am and boom my day started.  While this is not something I want to do on a regular basis, it was a good morning for me.  Early mornings are so different.  The birds are waking up, people are just leaving for work, the world starts to stir.   The look, sound and feel of mornings are different than other parts of the day.

By doing something different, I was able to see the world in a new perspective. It makes me think… the people who do this every morning, do they appreciate this beauty?  By changing our actions, our habits, we take a fresh view of the world.  The routines that we have make life mundane.

Challenge: At least once a month, change your routine… get up early, stay up late, eat something different… whatever it is for you, change.  Different is not bad, it is just unusual, but there is good, even good mornings.

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