Living Letters

“You show that you are a letter from Christ that he sent through us. This letter is not written with ink but with the Spirit of the living God. It is not written on stone tablets but on human hearts.”
2 Corinthians 3:3

Your life is basically a letter of what has happened since you were born.  There are good pages and not so lovely pages.  There are pages with bits of food and drops of water.  There are words and lines scratched out, things that you didn’t want to have revealed or think about.

The good news?

Your letter isn’t signed yet.  And no letter is done until it’s signed.  You’ve got a chance to write a wonderful ending to your letter.

What will you write?

2012 in Words: Joy

We’re almost done with January, can you believe it?!  I’m shocked that we only have 11 more months in 2012.  How has your first month gone?

This month you’ve seen a couple thoughts about joy from me.  I’ve also tried to live my life with more joy too!  Some of the decisions I chose this month were made in favor of creating joy in my life.

As we wrap up this month let’s take a moment to think about what joy is and why it’s important in 2012.

~According to dictionary.com, joy is: the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying…a source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated.

~If you want joy in your life you have to be intentional about it.  Joy won’t just float into your life like money can-you may stumble over money on the sidewalk but joy can only be found intentionally.

~If you want your world to be better in 2012 than it was in 2011 (even if 2011 was a great year for you), you’re going to have to raise your vibration.  What this means is that you can’t be hating people, talk negatively or contribute to bad situations.  You have to choose to live better, healthier, more whole and treat others with more respect as often as possible.

Is having with more joy one of your goals for 2012?  What brings you joy and happiness in your life and what can you do to bring joy to someone else?

What If

As I was writing my devotional I was reminded of the question “What If…”  It’s a statement that precedes many questions that people have asked throughout the centuries.

What if God loves me?

What if God saves us all?

What if we don’t die?

What if Hell is real?

What if the truth hasn’t been found yet?

What if Jesus is enough?

What if I shared my joy?

You’ve probably got lots of questions you’ve asked over the years too, maybe some of those above.  I’m only going to talk about one today though: what if I shared my joy?

If I shared my joy I would be helping to transform lives. By choosing to share joy I would be inspiring people and helping them to live lives that weren’t blurred by hatred and anger.  Sharing joy and not hate means that I will enjoy my life more and have better relationships.

What if we all shared our joy?  What if we all lived by our joy?  I think the world would be a dramatically different place.

Of course, in order to share your joy you have to know what brings you joy.  My encouragement for this week is to spend time learning what brings you joy and do it!  What brings you joy?

We Are One

“We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the way God’s universe is made; this is the way it is structured.”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I love this quote by Dr. King Jr.  He was an inspirational man who encouraged some major transformation and growth in America.  His words need to be remembered and shared today because we still have work to do.  Maybe the racial situation is improved, but we as people still have a long way before we are living as brothers (and sisters).

I think the first step to really making this transformation is accepting that everything, yes everything, you do has an impact on someone else.  Nothing I do is just about me, every choice I make (and you make) impacts someone else.  We’ve been told about the butterfly effect (a butterfly flaps its wings in California and half way around the world it causes a hurricane), and I know it works the same way with people.

Each day as you make your choices, remember that what you do impacts others.  You have the ability to help heal and grow the world.  What ways can you make a difference?

The Words We Say

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14

The words are a very simple prayer, a prayer that I believe we should all say.  The only way to rid the world of hatred is to change our words.  When we stop cursing each other, telling each other to ‘go to hell’ or that they’re stupid, I think the world will have a chance at health and healing.

Until then we should each do our part.  I encourage you to grab an index card or similar sized note paper and write Psalm 19:14 on it.  Then post that verse in an obvious place, perhaps by your computer or somewhere you’ll see it often.

You may think that you’re only one person and you’re right. But through your actions, plus my actions, plus the actions of the others who are living by the words of Psalm 19:14, we can make a difference.  Making a difference starts with one person and continues through word of mouth or sharing of vision.

Where will you start making a difference?

2012 in Words-Hope

My theme this year (and possibly years to come) is hope in action. Each month I’ll be sharing blog posts about the theme of the month as well as continually bringing you hope through my facebook posts, tweets, newsletters and other 2 blogs.

The words that I intend to live and share in 2012 are:

Joy
Love
Peace
Faith
Trust
Family
Freedom
Leadership
Change
Strength
Legacy
Hope

I invite you to include these 12 words in your thoughts and plans for 2012.

I would be happy to help you put any of these 12 words into action in your life, as well as help you discover the options in your life.  Contact me through the box on my website and we’ll get started!

What are you planning to focus on in 2012?

Hope for 2012

We’ve made it!  It’s 2012.  To begin our journey through 2012 I thought I would share a word of encouragement with you:

“So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.”
Galatians 6:9

Whether it’s January or July it’s always a good time to get back in touch with God and yourself and get back on track.

2011 wasn’t an easy year for many people.  Many people struggled, but I think more people learned that we’re going to have to make some changes if we want to get through 2012 successfully.

The truth that you find no matter where you read in the Bible is that God doesn’t give up on people and has a plan for better days.  There will be tough days because we’re not in heaven yet.  But there will also be good days, days where you will have abundant blessings as a result of the work you’ve done.

So instead of complaining about another day gone wrong, focus on the good coming your way soon and look for the hope in the not so good situations.  You never know what you will find.

2011 Life Wrapup

Last year we talked about some important topics.  Some of these topics we’ll talk about again this year, but before we get to this year’s topics, I wanted to highlight some things from last year. (click the link in each topic to read the rest of the blog post)

January-Hope
“Once you choose hope, anything’s possible.” Christopher Reeve

February-Transformation
Transform your perspective: Believe that there is hope for the economy.  Believe that you can still make good money.  Believe that there is a great relationship for you (whether you rebuild your current one or start a new one).  See things as opportunities, not problems, challenges not issues, and always look for multiple ways to achieve your goals.

March-Change
Change is NORMAL! Can you believe it?  Think about it for a moment.  The world is designed to change.  We see the changing of the seasons, the changing of the weather, the changing of people, and yet we still hope that things don’t change or that we can stall or stop the changes we don’t like.  The reality is you can’t stop change or stall the inevitable too long.  So what can you do to turn change around and instead of it frustrating you and causing problems, actually make it work for you?

April-Purpose
Our purpose should not be our fair weather friend, it should be something active in our lives all the time, especially when the tough stuff piles up.

May-Empowerment
Increase your life satisfaction by being committed to doing what makes you come alive.  Don’t work a job that is crushing you, be in a relationship that hurts you, or spend time with people who make you feel bad.  Decide that you will be content with what you have, but that you will never stop growing and striving to live and be better.

June-Passion
If you’re not passionate, life will get boring pretty quick, and your self-esteem will quickly disappear.  Self-esteem is fueled by passion for life, by hope for your future and by living life in a way that makes it all matter to you

July-Creativity
creativity an essential aspect of life, and without it, not only would life be boring, I dare say life would be very uniform and ordinary.  Creativity adds a depth and spice to life that nothing else can add.

August-Commitment
“Failure doesn’t mean “game over.” It means try again with your new experience.” Len Schlesinger

September-Dedication
“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.” Roy Disney

October-Forgiveness
“Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die.” Nelson Mandela

November-Kindness
“Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile.” Mother Teresa

December-Love
As I’ve said on many occasions, life isn’t a one man show, it’s a journey we’re all taking together in one way or another. So in this festive season of the year, let me ask you a question: what do you need to make room for in your life?…What would bless your life in a way that you can’t imagine if you were to only open up to receive it?

What did you learn in 2011?

Spiritual Hope from 2011

Last year was a great year!  I enjoyed all that we learned together and really appreciate the opportunity to share my thoughts with you each week.  In 2011 we talked about 1 topic each month, always considering our core topic of hope.  Let’s review what we learned (click the link if you want to read the whole blog post):

January-Hope
Habakkuk 2:3 “This vision is for a future time.  It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled.  If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place.  It will not be delayed.”

February-Transformation
3 little take-aways for you today from Ephesians 4:24: 1-You are created to be like God. 2-God is proud of you 3-Every action you take, word you speak and promise you make should be helping you transform ever more into the individual God know you can be.

March-Change
Jeremiah 6:16.  It reads “This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.””

April-Purpose
Sometimes we need to just trust that the road is supposed to be this crooked.

May-Empowerment
Romans 5:3 says: “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us — they help us learn to endure.”

June-Passion
What can we do to be more passionate spiritually? Do spiritual practices you enjoy, remove bad distractions, get creative, make more moments spiritual, make time for your spiritual life, change your attitude.

July-Creativity
Psalm 19:1 “The heavens proclaim the glory of God.  The skies display his craftsmanship.”

August-Commitment
You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? …You are the light of the world — like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket!” Matthew 5:13-15

September-Dedication
I think God wants you to be dedicated to Him: to living the purpose He’s given you, to trying to live right and asking for forgiveness when you don’t, to sharing His good news with others, and to spending a little time each day with Him.

October-Forgiveness
At the end of the day I don’t think that what really matters is the error.  It’s that we seek or offer forgiveness.  It’s not about doing right all the time, it’s about knowing that we’re human, accepting our mistakes and living lives actively forgiving each other.

November-Kindness
Psalm 103:2 “My soul, praise the Lord and never forget how kind he is!”

December-Love
Regardless of what you believe, we can all learn from the message of the story: love is a gift that lasts.

What did you learn in 2011?