Your Life, God’s Way

God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supplies Hudson Taylor

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

Years ago, my church – Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida – rented a billboard near a busy highway. We were looking to attract people to what God was doing in our world. The ad featured an image of me (which made sense because the invitation was coming from the church, and well, I’m the pastor) with these words emblazoned across the ad:

Your Life, God’s Way

Despite the blinding vibrancy of my lime green golf shirt, we got a great response to that billboard. Lots of people visited Celebration for the first time and made it their home. Why? I seriously doubt it was due to my friendly-yet-penetrating gaze as drivers made their daily commute to work each day. No.

What drew people in was that the ad offered a different approach to the one thing everyone is concerned about and probably mulling over on their way to work: my life. Imagine the thoughts of those drivers. It’s not hard because we’ve all had them at one time or another, maybe at this very moment:

  • My life is a mess.
  • My life is going great.
  • My life doesn’t matter.
  • My life is about to change.
  • My life is falling apart.
  • My life has no purpose.
  • My life is too busy.
  • My life is depressing.
  • My life is over-the-top amazing.

The billboard reached all these people behind the wheel – all with different plans, experiences, hopes, disappointments, and so on – and offered them one more lens through which to view their life: God’s way.

Adding these two words has a way of changing our perspective. It forces us to pause and consider that there may be a completely different way of doing life than we are currently doing it, one we may never have considered. I’m sure more than one person drove by that billboard and thought, “God’s way,” huh? What does that look like? It’s gotta be better than the way I’m doing it.

When I first started thinking about my life in terms of God’s way, three life-altering, game-changing realizations came to mind. And speaking now as a pastor, let me add that these apply to anyone.

God has a “way” for our lives. Most people think God is not at all interested in the details of our lives. But he is.

He doesn’t sit in heaven simply watching our lives from the nosebleeds. God wants to be fully involved in your life, and He has a game plan, a path, a way for your life that is designed specifically for you (Psalm 37:23). As you make Him the first priority in your life, you’ll witness firsthand just how much God wants to be present and active in your life. You will experience His presence on a whole new level.

We don’t have to carry the weight of our life alone. Life is challenging, and the cares of life are heavy, but God doesn’t want you to carry the burden alone. Jesus invites you to keep step with Him while He does the heavy lifting (Matthew 11:28). When you put God first, you begin to live in response to Him as He shapes your life. Rather than striving to manipulate and control every outcome under your own strength, you will find that God is standing close, ready to help lighten the load.

God’s way is better than ours.

The Bible says that God’s way is perfect, refreshing, trustworthy, right, and enlightening (Psalm 19:7-8). I don’t know about you, but my way usually isn’t any of those things. Amazingly, God’s way is not only all those things, but it also meets us wherever we are.

When you feel like your life…

  • is a mess, God works all things out for your good (Romans 8:28).
  • is going great, God has greater things in store for you (1 Corinthians 2:9).
  • doesn’t matter, God ascribes incredible value to you (1 Peter 1:18-19).
  • is about to change, he will be with you every step of the way (Hebrews 13:5).
  • is falling apart, God is your strength and deliverer (Psalm 18:1-2).
  • has no purpose, God’s purpose for you will prevail (Jeremiah 29:11).
  • is too busy, God’s peace guards your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7).
  • is depressing, he is the giver of joy (Romans 15:13).
  • is over-the-top amazing, there is a place to direct your gratitude (James 5:13).

God’s way for your life is the best possible way you can live. This is the God-first life. It’s the life God intends you to live.

Today’s article was written by Stovall Weems and is shared from the following website: https://www.faithgateway.com/your-life-gods-way/#.W3Q_gy-ZNmA

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Change Only Happens From The Inside Out

If you’re searching for the key to success, look inside yourself Unknown

“I think I’m done with therapy!” I told my therapist, outpouring my pent-up frustration. “It seems that all this talking and introspection is useless. Four years of continuous work and I’m still unsatisfied and constantly disappointed!”

And so I kept on rambling. “What’s the point of it all? I’m finally married to someone I love, after getting out of an unhappy marriage. I shifted to a career that I’m actually passionate about. I moved to another country, particularly to a paradisiacal city which most people would be thrilled to even just visit. I dropped over 25 pounds and feel very comfortable (even proud!) with my physical appearance. I’ve even discovered new hobbies that have shown me a different way of living. And all for what?”

There was a minute of silence. And then my therapist, after having told me so a million times before, once again calmly said: “Remember that: Change happens from the inside out. Not the other way around.”

Oh how I hated that she was right! I had managed to radically change my outside world completely, yet I still felt the same. Everything around me looked so different and so similar at the same time. Because even though my external world had changed, I had not.

It seems that despite my therapist’s words of wisdom, all along I chose to believe that if I created that perfect life I had always dreamed of I would finally be who I wanted to be.

So I spent all my energy and effort in changing everything about my circumstances that did not make me happy. Much needed changes that I don’t regret. But that time showed me were not enough for a true transformation.

As much as I wanted it to, changing the outside did not change the inside.

You can move to the other side of the world. Start a relationship with the partner of your dreams. Or even accomplish the professional goals you desire the most. But what I learned is that: Wherever you go, whoever you’re with, or whatever you do, you take yourself with you. 

And if despite your choices, you still remain the same person you were before, your life won’t be much different.

Only real personal change, the change that comes from within, can turn your life around.

So here are 6 tips to keep in mind during this journey toward personal transformation:

1. Nothing ever changes, until you do. If you have external circumstances that are making you unhappy, by all means change them. Change them in an intelligent and unwavering way. But keep in mind, that whatever role you are playing in that unhappiness will continue, unless you change too.

2. If you want true change, face yourself. There’s no running or hiding. You have to look at your biggest fears straight in the eye. You have to dig deep into your old hurts and wounds.  And you have to challenge your self-limiting beliefs and toxic ways of thinking.

3. Believe you can change, then persevere. Don’t hope you can change. Believe that you will. The right mindset is critical for this mission. Because defying your lifetime habits will not be easy. It will feel like swimming against the tide. And it’ll be your faith and determination what will give you the courage to carry on.

4. Watch out for your unconscious along the way. Challenging yourself will feel so threatening that you may rely on defense mechanisms such as denial to avoid facing your reality. This will “protect” you from the anxiety of confronting some ugly truths about yourself. But will only delay, or even sabotage, your road to transformation.

5. Avoid a real self vs. ideal self war. Fighting against your (not-so-desirable) actual self is not only pointless, but steals away the energy you need to transform into your ideal self. That person you aspire to be. The more you fight who you are now the harder it’ll be to let go of it. You need to accept yourself just as you are so you can then start working towards transforming into that person worthy of your admiration.

6. Take it day-by-day. Step-by-step. Transformational change is created through daily individual actions. There’s no milestone to be reached. Because it is a process that lasts a lifetime. All you can do is take a step every day to get closer to the person you wish to be. And every now and then, stop to reflect on who you are today, and compare it with who you were yesterday.

We can all undergo a process of personal transformation or “metamorphosis” (as I like to call it), if we’re willing to let go of who we are to become who we truly want to be. And just like the caterpillar completely rearranges its form to emerge into something so beautiful, we too can emerge from our cocoon to transform into the best version of our unique wonderful self.

It is not the beauty of the butterfly what makes it so remarkable. It’s the changes it has gone through to achieve such beauty.

Today’s article was written by Jessica Beltran, MS and is shared from the following website: https://blogs.psychcentral.com/thrive/2014/10/change-only-happens-from-the-inside-out/

 

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What Are The Steps Of Positive Thinking?

We Become What We Think About Earl Nightingale

The most potent form of energy is thought because thought-waves are cosmic (energy) waves penetrating all time and space.

  • Watch your thoughts, they become words.
  • Watch your words, they become actions.
  • Watch your actions, they become habits.
  • Watch your habits, they become your character.
  • Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

A man is but the product of his thoughts – what he thinks, he becomes. – Mahatma Gandhi

What Are The Steps Of Positive Thinking?

Becoming a positive thinker is easy when you know the steps of positive thinking…

…and of course, you also apply them! (By the way, do you wonder if you need to study positive thinking?)

All you need to benefit from positive thinking is to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones – this is, to change your focus of attention from something that makes you feel bad to something that makes you feel good.

It *is* that simple!

How do you do that?

Follow these easy steps of positive thinking:

  1. Become aware of your thoughts. You can do this on the spot, throughout the day.If you’ve never paid attention to your thoughts, then you can train yourself to do that by choosing a quiet spot and sitting in silence for a while, just noticing what comes up in your mind. I found it best to do this in the afternoons, after work is done and before taking care of things like making dinner.Most of us are over-identified with our own thoughts, and believe that just because *we* have a certain thought, it means something. But thoughts are just thoughts – they are not yours or mine, and they only have as much weigh as you want to give them.
  2. Notice the thoughts that make you feel bad. This is easy to do: your emotions (fear, jealousy, worry, anger…) will tell you that you are on a ‘negative’ train of thought.For instance, think about the subject of money. How do you feel? Anxious, nervous, scared? What thoughts come to mind? ‘Money is hard to make’, ‘I never have enough money’ are perhaps some of those thoughts.Taking this step can also help you to uncover the root of your beliefs (most of them would have been acquired during your childhood) and set yourself free to choose new beliefs.
  3. Change your negative thoughts for positive ones. This is easy: choose thoughts that make you feel good when you think them.You can only think of one thing at a time; if you think about something that makes you feel good then there is no room for feeling bad.For example, if you find yourself worrying about money and bills to pay, you could instead choose to focus on all the abundance that you do have, or you could list situations where money came to you unexpectedly.If you find yourself unable to think about a certain subject in a way that makes you feel good, then choose to think about something else that does make you feel good. The point is to change your train of thought and thus your emotions.

Why can I not change my thoughts?

Sometimes, you might notice, it is not so easy to change your thoughts about a certain subject. You may try to think about it in a way that makes you feel good, yet you find that there is no way you can feel good about it.

The thing is, when you have thought about a subject in a certain way for a long time, you have ‘walked’ that path of thought so often that it seems the only path available.

Some of the big subjects where we may find difficulty changing our thoughts are money, relationships, and health.

In these cases, it is best to first practice changing your thoughts about something small.

For example, do you get upset when you have to queue for a while? Next time, change the direction of your thoughts by focusing on whatever benefits you can find to queuing – “This chair is actually quite comfortable”, “I now have time to just relax”, “I can now read a few more pages of this book”.

As you practice following the steps of positive thinking about small things, you get the hang of it and it becomes easier to change your thoughts on larger subjects.

You can also use your thoughts to ‘program’ yourself a good day: get up to positive thinking; or you can use positive thinking to change your thoughts about your own life.

Summing up the steps of positive thinking:

  1. Become aware of your thoughts
  2. Use your emotions as a way to discover your negative thoughts
  3. Put your attention on thoughts that make you feel good

The trick, as you would have probably imagined, is to repeat these steps often, with many different subjects, and to start small in the subjects where you find it difficult.

As you do that consistently, you start changing your overall perception of life, and life starts changing for you.

Use the following resources to help yourself when following the steps of positive thinking:

  • Positive thinking activities
  • Positive self statements
  • Positive thinking tips
  • Positive thinking programs

You can then expand on these steps of positive thinking with the Law of Attraction, which shows you how you can intentionally use your thoughts to achieve or obtain what you want. Discover how the Law of Attraction, positive thinking and quantum physics relate.

In the words of Henri Matisse…

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”

Today’s article was written by Cristina Diaz and is shared from the following website: http://www.the-benefits-of-positive-thinking.com/steps-of-positive-thinking.html

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God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Their primary source of income is from agriculture.  Yet it is a difficult proposition as due to perennial shortage of water, they can grow mainly a single kharif crop like paddy or some arahar dal or ragi.  Therefore part of their livelihood is also met by wages doing daily labour.

Water, which we in the towns and cities use indiscriminately, is a major source of worry.  They are dependant on a small river nearby for their daily consumption and household needs.  Unfortunately this source dries up in summer and can be of help only for a few months in a year. Who is affected the most by this fact?  The villagers go through severe health problems which affect not only their livelihood but also the quality of their lives.  In such a scenario, the women bear the brunt of the suffering.  Fetching water becomes an important task for which they often have to get up at 4 am. After a full day’s work in the fields, they again have to trudge to the river to bring water.

In such a bleak scenario, enteredthe Harsha Trust, a not-for-profit organization that works with the tribal and the poor in remote locations of Orissa, aiming to bring in human development in challenging conditions. Professionals from Harsha Trust visited the village in October 2014 and at once identified this problem and met frequently with the community to deliberate on the possible solutions.  Now this was not the first time a meeting such as this was being held in the village.  Similar meetings had been conducted earlier by various government departments: they came, they spoke, they promised…nothing concrete happened.  The hopes of the villagers were crushed. Therefore you can well imagine the reception the Harsha Trust got!

Luckily, one of the village elders, Mr Srima Praska, showed interest and managed to persuade his fellow villagers to give them a chance. So Harsha Trust arranged for a field trip to Kumbharapada village in May 2015.  This village had installed a drinking water model with facilities for  irrigation with the help of a solar pump from a deep borewell.  Impressed by what they saw, the village Self Help Group (SHG) members held a meeting to dwell on the details and to see if this could be replicated in their own village.

After a few rounds of discussions, the community was motivated and then started the finetuning of the project.  A corpus fund of Rs 1000/- was collected from each household. This total of 29,000/- was earmarked for the work which began in June 2015.  A borewell was dug.  Just by digging 245 feet, about 2 inch of water got discharged.  Happy at this outcome, the villagers decided to construct an overhead drinking water tank in the plot of Mr Ghasiram Praska.

Another interesting feature of this bottom-up experiment was the actual construction.  Members from each household contributed by working for the construction of the overhead tank and piping layout. Thus each family contributed 15 man days and also helped in the 14 trips (tractor load) needed to get the boulders to make the overhead tank.  They developed a mechanism by which daily 10-12 people worked on a rotational basis.  In case a family could not participate in the work due to some reason, that family was required to pay for the substitute worker hired for the work.

The tank was constructed with a capacity of around 10,000 litres of water. Around 2550 feet were dug to accommodate the delivery pipes.  The entire work was completed in January 2016.  A 2-HP solar pump lifts around 70 thousand litres of water per day.  Around 12,000 litres of water are required for the household consumption.  Miraculously, what was backbreaking work for the women is now done in just one and half hours. The excess water is used by 12 households to cultivate tomatoes, chillies and sunflower in 1.5 acres of land.

Fittingly enough, to ensure the sustainability of this project so dear to them, the women have formed a committee named “Maa Phulamati Solar Jala Sechana Prakalpa”.  The main aim of this group is to take responsibility for the performance and future maintenance of the solar water supply system.

The committee is running well since 5th November 2015.  Each household deposits  Rs 30/- per month for drinking water (Re 1/- per day). To avail water for irrigation, a farmer has to contribute an amount of Rs 20 to receive a coupon that allows him to use the pumped water in the field for an hour.

We find today, a village which had health issues, a village where its women spent a large part of their day ferrying water, a village which could not live only with its income from agriculture, now reaps multiple benefits from a simple yet much-needed device as a solar pump.  Water is readily available for the women.  As the surplus water is used for irrigation, agriculture flourishes.  Some households have also started kitchen gardens with their waste water.  Villagers are making a conscious effort for cleanliness and hygiene.

A sea change has come over the village so much so that before giving their daughters  in marriage, parents are enquiring about similar facilities in the grooms’ villages.

Today’s article was written by Sabyasachi Kar and is shared from the following website:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/god-helps-those-who-help-themselves-story-villagers-empowered-kar

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10 Gratitude Principles to Live By

When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears Tony Robbins

About five years ago now, my financial security was threatened by circumstances in my life over which I had absolutely no control.

As a single parent, I had spent years scrimping and saving and just getting by. While I had managed to build a small financial cushion, the idea of dipping into my savings to get by each month terrified me. When I allowed myself to turn towards the dark alley of fear that seemed ever present, I’d feel overwhelmed worrying about what might happen when the cushion was gone.

As the months went by and my savings diminished, little mantras that revolved around gratitude began popping into my head. I recorded these gratitude principles in the front cover of my 2007 journal. I am not quite sure where these principles came from as I had definitely grown up in a family that emphasized and fretted over the half-empty glass. I had never learned how to foster a positive attitude, much less how to express gratitude. Yet from somewhere came the guidance to foster gratitude instead of fear.

As I look back on that year, I am amazed by the amount of peace that I felt in spite of my difficult circumstances. It was a year that taught me so much about trusting my path; about the absolute futility of worry; and about the amazing power of gratitude.

The “Gratitude Principles” that kept me afloat during that difficult year were as follows:

1. Gratitude is awareness that, as things come to you, they are exactly what you need – be it people, circumstance, or challenges.

2. Worry is the opposite of gratitude; it is the failure to understand that you have been and will continue to be provided for each day.

3. Whenever fear over your future encroaches, stop to observe a tree. Consider how the tree continues to stand tall and grow throughout the various cycles and seasons of its life span.

4. Worry is an action. Gratitude is an action. Both are optional. By choosing gratitude you drive out the space and time for worry.

5. It isn’t hard to do; gratitude is simply noticing the good stuff in your life.

6. What you pay attention to, or notice, tends to expand and grow.

7. Each day brings a multitude of opportunities to feel gratitude and appreciation.

8. When you neglect the action of appreciating, you limit your potential for joy and contentment in the present moment.

9. Worry does not prevent bad things from happening; it only prevents you from accessing joy in this moment.

10. The present moment is the only place where joy and contentment can exist.

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