Trust God. Believe His Word. Encourage Self.

REFLECTIONS FROM MY READING

 

 

 If God implants His desires in our heart, then He will see to it that they are completed as we submit to His Lordship and work in co-operation with His Spirit within us.

Edwin Louis Cole – The Potential Principle – Living Life To Its Maximum

 

For the past 2-3 years I have been beset with fears that I might die before I complete a project I began. Recently those thoughts have visited me almost daily and I have to tussle to oust them from my mind and prevent them from taking root in my heart.

I have been in about 4 car accidents which could have cost both me and my husband our lives. Accidents where the cars were a write-off. Accidents where I still do not know to this day how we avoided a full-on collision, how we avoided careering off into the path of oncoming cars on the motorway. Only the fact that I

(a) serve a mighty, miracle-working God

and

(b) regularly ask the Lord to divinely protect me, and my husband and my loved ones, in accordance with Psalm 91,

can explain why I escaped terrible injuries, or have not already lost my life.

The above factors, plus other incidences in my life where I know, that I know, that I know, God graciously intervened and delivered me, healed me, are the reasons why every now and again the tentacles of fear seek to asphyxiate me.

During the days when I didn’t know better, whenever fearful thoughts came, I’d try to squash them down or ignore them. Sometimes I even voiced them. Which is the worst thing you can do. Because the Enemy does not and will not give up!

And so those thoughts need to be taken captive. They need to be imprisoned within the walls of faith. They need to be displaced and replaced by the Word of God. And it is necessary to apply this strategy again and again and again and again, as often as needed until you are free. Completely free. Until God’s thoughts (as revealed in his Word) become second nature.

Today, I read the above passage from Ed Cole’s book and it has encouraged me. I believe God has planted certain dreams in my heart. Some of those dreams I would never have considered for myself. And some of those dreams would take only God himself to make them become a reality.

I’m choosing to believe God’s servant Ed Cole and what he has written. I’m choosing to resist the lies of the Enemy. I’m choosing to discipline my fleshly inclinations (to sulk, to be slothful, to bathe in self-pity, or to self-flagellate over missed opportunities and past shortcomings) and submit to Christ’s Lordship and co-operate with His Holy Spirit.

That doesn’t mean the fears won’t come back. That doesn’t mean I won’t be tempted to go off on a tangent and try to do things my way because God’s just not working fast enough (remember Abraham and Sarah?).

But praise God, it does mean that He can (and will) cause ALL things to work together for my good, for my benefit, for my success.

Dear reader, if God has given you a dream which is taking forever to take shape and become a reality, or if you are facing obstacles to that dream left, right and centre, trust God to give you that breakthrough. Trust God to carry you through the storms of opposition, persecution, sabotage or failure. Trust God for whatever it is that is pertinent to your situation.

Trust God. Believe His Word. Encourage self.

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CC0 image – courtesy of Pixabay.com

Whoo Hoo Wednesday!

 

I’m giving thanks today to my Father God, my precious Lord Jesus and my creative director and associate, the inimitable Holy Spirit.

Why am I thanking this divine trio?

Because today is another day in my writing history where I have cause to flag up some new achievements. I give my thanks and the glory to this awesome holy trinity, because I consider them to be indispensable members of my success team.

And now for the reason for my joy and for this post.

Recently I’ve felt a little discouraged because

  • Blog growth is slow.
  • Blog interaction is erratic.
  • And a recent attempt to rally interest in my first blog challenge event has so far met with zilch response.

But this morning after discovering certain email in my inbox from three individuals, I felt over the moon.

The first was from a blogger friend Kato, a dear and humble minister of the Lord, who was asking whether I’d mind him sharing my post Pick up Your Cross on his site. He deemed it an important message. Would I? I felt both touched and honoured and of course I granted permission. Please check out his blog. Some of you may recall that I’d recently reblogged one of his posts regarding discovering our life’s purpose.

The second cause of joy came from the editor of a Christian women’s magazine. A guest post, Love’s Sacrificial Mind-set, has been published in this beautiful magazine, Ruby for Women. Further, my article has been featured on the main page of the RUBY community website  and on the Ruby blog.

Dear reader, even if you have read this particular post before, please check out the magazine. And you writers out there if you’re interested in contributing an article, poem, photograph or other artwork, please check out the submission guidelines. The site also hosts a Christian Community, so why not check this out also?

And the third cause of joy came from an editor of a literary blog, which I highly recommend. An article I’d submitted was published on Monday. I’d be so grateful if you’d kindly go along and visit and support me with your likes and comments. Here’s the link.

Unbeknown to me, whilst I was feeling low, these three emails have been sitting in my inbox since Monday. And so I declare today as Whoo Hoo Wednesday! May there be many more whoo hoo days to come, for me, my lovely followers, readers and supporters, the editors of Two Drops of Ink and Ruby for Women and also dear Kato.

Whoo hoo! I’m a writer – yay!

Whoo hoo! I’m a published writer – double yay!

 

Credit: CC0 image – courtesy of Oberholster Venita at Pixabay.com

Let Go of Past Regrets!

CC0 image - Gerd Altmann (Pixabay.com)
CC0 image – Gerd Altmann (Pixabay.com)

Regret is a waste of time, unless it teaches you wisdom and fuels your resolve to do better next time.

Bob and Debbie Gass – UCB Word For Today ­ (Daily Devotional – Aug-Oct 2016)

 

SELF-SCRUTINY:

If past regrets are preventing you from moving on in your life, these useful tips from an expert, may assist.

 

Prodigal or Profitable?

If time be of all things the most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality.

Benjamin Franklin

 

It’s Saturday morning!

This time last year, I was a full-time employee and part-time carer for my beloved mother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. This time last year, on a Saturday morning, I didn’t have the luxury of a whole day to myself, with which I could do exactly as I pleased.

This time last year, I was ruminating with regret over past years and decades, when I’d enjoyed a similar luxury but hardly ever spent my spare time in a meaningful way. How I wished I’d used my time more wisely!

Last year, out of necessity, I had to put my dreams and goals second place.

Purpose-driven believers and aspiring dream-achievers, realise that your spare time, is a precious commodity. You never know what your future holds. Don’t be deceived into thinking you have all the time in the world to achieve your dreams, accomplish your goals, fulfil your destiny. And if you are currently a “free agent”, pretty much able to spend your leisure hours doing as you please, don’t be deceived into thinking that your current situation will remain the same, indefinitely.

Fulfilling goals and dreams, or the destiny God has pre-ordained for you, requires diligence, hard work and the productive use of your time. If you are in the habit of squandering those precious moments, spending an exorbitant amount of time on activities that don’t really matter… that don’t add value to yourself… that don’t take you forward in the direction of your dreams, then you may later regret it (as I did!).

Don’t let slothfulness, procrastination, indecision, fear or folly rob you of the quality time you have available now, which could be spent productively on pursuing your dreams. By the time you wake up, or decide to pursue you dream in earnest, circumstances may have changed. You may find yourself having to juggle unexpected responsibilities and having to squeeze in micro-moments for yourself. Take it from someone who knows. Take it from a procrastination queen!

There are two types of wisdom available to you dear reader. There’s the one you acquire from your own hard-earned experience, and the type you gain from listening to and learning from the hard-won experience of others.

In the context of using your spare time profitably, which type of wisdom will you choose to learn from this year?

Wisdom is the principal thing;

Therefore get wisdom.

And in all your getting, get understanding.

(Proverbs 4:7 NKJ)

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers have a blessed and productive week.

CREDIT: CC0 Image – courtesy of Pixabay.com

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Are you guilty of wasting your spare time, or are you a workaholic?

Did you enjoy reading this post? Please let me know your response in the comment box below. Likes, ratings and shares will be most gratefully received.

Best wishes,

Carol

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“…If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer

My other blog: (Women of Warfare!)

My Google Collection: (Soul Surgery)

 

 

 

Work At Your Dreams

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 Dreams don’t come true when more time is spent talking about them than praying and working toward achieving them.

Stormie Omartian

 

SELF-SCRUTINY

What action are you taking to make your dreams, goals, or aspirations become a reality?

 

A Dream Plus Persistence = Success!

SuccessArrow(GerdAltmann)-617130_960_720

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY (1st Monday of each month)

Sharing and Savouring Secrets of Success…

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THEME WORD:

PERSISTENT – continuing with determination in spite of discouragement; dogged; tenacious

(Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)

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Ambition is not enough! Desire is not enough! And wishful thinking will certainly not catapult you into the pathway of success!

I have heard it said that pursuit is the proof of desire. And I know from personal experience that pursuit is not a one-time-effort. It’s not a once-in-a-while activity. Pursuit must be consistent. Your dream, your goal, requires persistence.

The question is: do you and do I have what it takes to cross the finishing line?

The following is a 3.5 mins motivational video, which I trust will encourage and spur you towards the fulfilment of your dreams.

 

 

 

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, may 2017 be your year of achievement and success, as you persist with your endeavours.

 

SELF SCRUTINY:

Is there a dream, goal or vision that you’ve abandoned or neglected because you felt discouraged? Are you willing to try again, to persist until you succeed?

Please share your response to this post in the comment box below.  I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Wishing You All A Wonderful New Year!

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As the year comes to a close, it is a time for reflection – a time to release old thoughts and beliefs and forgive old hurts. Whatever has happened in the past year, the New Year brings fresh beginnings. Exciting new experiences and relationships await. Let us be thankful for the blessings of the past and the promise of the future. ― Peggy Toney Horton

 

What do you need in the New Year? You need a dream; your dream needs an action; and your action needs right thinking! Without right thinking, you can have only unrealised dreams! ― Mehmet Murat Ildan

 

We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential. ― Ellen Goodman

 

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come,

Whispering ‘it will be happier’. ― Alfred Tennyson

 

Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous New Year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving Source – a Sower of Dreams – just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true. – Sarah Ban Breathnach

 

 

My heartfelt thanks to all followers and readers for supporting me with your visits, comments and likes. It has truly been a blessing and an honour to share my thoughts with you. I wish you all God’s very best and look forward to the pleasure of your visits throughout the coming year.

Best wishes,

Carol

—————————————————————————-https://womenofwarfare.wordpress.com

https://plus.google.com/collection/Qw96cB

“…If you love what you are doing, you will be successful” – Albert Schweitzer

 

 

Remembering the Christ of Christmas

HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

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Are you celebrating the TRUE reason for this season?

 

Christmas time,

Mistletoe and Wine

Children singing Christian rhyme

With logs on the fire and gifts on the tree

A time to rejoice in the good that we see.

(Cliff Richards)

 

 

Cliff Richards, Commercialism, Christ

The above refrain taken from a popular Cliff Richards’ song, evokes a warm, wholesome image of Christmas, which pretty much stands at odds to the commercial and secular response often associated with this important season in the Christian calendar.

Many will feast and frolic their way through this seasonal period without giving much (if any) thought to the person behind this important event. With all the clever commercials, hyped expectations and frenetic preparations, it can be easy to forget that “Jesus is the reason for the season”.

 

Stop and reflect!

And so dear readers, may I invite you to come aside and reflect for a while upon what the Christmas message means to us as purpose-driven believers? I’d like you to consider what lessons we can take away from the nativity story, which will equip and encourage us to live God-glorifying, purpose-driven lives.

A big part of Christmas celebrations involves the giving of gifts. The Bible reveals that God led wise men from the Far East to the Jewish town of Bethlehem. They presented Jesus with gifts—gold, frankincense and myrrh—as part of their acceptance, recognition of, and homage to Jesus, the prophesied Messiah and King.

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Make faith your travelling companion

I understand from a devotional article read recently, that it took two years for the wise men to travel from their home town, to their ultimate destination. Two years of travelling through unfamiliar terrain away from creature comforts. Two years of not really knowing where they were going – depending solely on God’s guidance through a star.

Logical reasoning would lead anyone to conclude it a risky and perhaps foolish venture, to leave familiar territory for an unknown destination. However, that’s where faith (the ability to believe without actually seeing) comes in!

 

Walk with God-focused purpose

Our relationship with God is often described as walking with Him. It is generally depicted as a journey. There is an oft-quoted proverb about success. It goes thus: “success is a journey – not a destination!

As purpose-driven achievers. we may be tempted to focus on the destination, on the fulfilment of our dreams—but just as important to our Father God, is the journey… how we cope with the vagaries of travelling to the unknown… whether during that pilgrimage we endeavour to be self-sufficient, or are willing to trust and depend solely on him.

Even though it is obvious God was there to guide each of these men on their journey, He nevertheless did not require them to travel alone. There is strength, support, even safety in numbers.

 

Embrace your destiny-helpers

Even though our calling as purpose-driven achievers is specific and individual, our Father does not expect, or desire us to play the lone ranger. Adam was given a help-meet. Jesus, the Son of God, eventually chose 12 disciples. Since God has placed you and me as particular members within the Body of Christ—the fulfilment of our potential, the achievement of our destiny, depends upon our interaction with and, interdependence upon others.

 

Let go – and let God!

Dear followers and visitors, as we move towards the end of 2016 and prepare to greet a brand new year, with brand new opportunities, I pray you will find your destiny helpers. I pray that God will surround you with the right individuals, who will challenge, encourage, inspire and motivate you to be the very best that you can be. I pray that our Father God will cause every past disappointment, discouragement, failure and seemingly insurmountable obstacle, to work together for your advantage and advancement, for your emotional and spiritual growth, and for your success.

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, I wish you and your loved ones a happy, Christ-centered Christmas. And if you don’t celebrate the birth of Christ (which is the true reason for this season), then I wish you a peaceful and relaxing break over the coming holiday period.

 

 

CREDITS: the images within this post are courtesy of Pixabay.com

Did you enjoy reading this post? Did my message speak to your heart? If so, please let me know. I welcome your comments, likes and ratings and would encourage you to re-blog, or share this post with your social network contacts. Many thanks in anticipation of your support.

 

Remembrance Day!

 

CC0 image courtesy of Pixabay.com
CC0 image courtesy of Pixabay.com

 

Today is Remembrance Day!

Years ago, when I was a care-free, rebellious soul I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about. I certainly wasn’t going to buy a poppy to commemorate people I didn’t know, or a cause about which I had no regard.

After all, I was born in a country whose people showed me in no uncertain terms that because of the colour of my skin, they did not consider me to be one of their own, so why would I, in fact why should I celebrate these dead combatants, who hail from a nation of bigots… a nation who made my parents’ lives, and then subsequently my own life, damned difficult?

So they want me to commemorate and celebrate people who’d sacrificed their lives, so I can enjoy so-called freedom? What freedom? Nope! As far as I was concerned, Remembrance Day did not mean squat to me.

Fast forward a few decades and my care-laden, much-humbled and enlightened soul has a different attitude. After all, I live in a country where I am not oppressed by a dictator. I live in a country that is run by democracy. I live in a country where I enjoy the freedom to openly worship God, and follow my faith. I am supremely grateful.

Now since God has a divine purpose for me, I have to accept that He has orchestrated certain aspects of my life. I have to accept that certain components of his ordained purpose include the parents to whom I was born and the country in which I was born and raised.

Listen to what Rick Warren has to say in his best-selling book, The Purpose-Driven Life:

Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. He thought of you first. It is not fate, nor chance, nor luck, nor coincidence that you are breathing at this very moment. You are alive because God wanted to create you!

 …God also planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose.

 

I could have been born in a country within the developing world, facing famine, drought, poverty, dictatorial oppression, or religious persecution. However, God has placed me within an environment where I can pretty much please myself to my heart’s content. But that freedom to do as I please comes along with a responsibility. A responsibility to serve others, to be a voice for the voiceless. It is not a freedom to despise, hurt, or sabotage.

And so purpose-driven believers and aspiring dream-achievers, take heart. Your nationality, even the colour of your skin, is an integral part of God’s purpose for your life. Don’t let the likes of the American president-elect, Donald Trump, colour  your view (pun intended) of who you are. Don’t allow anyone’s opinion to personally pigeon-hole you, decide your potential, or dictate your future.

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, the onus is upon you to know God for yourself and become acquainted with his Word. Embrace, meditate upon and regularly recall what the Bible has to say regarding the matter of your self-worth and your potential success.

The following passage is just one of many scriptures our Father God has provided to counteract thoughts and words designed to undermine our hopes and self-esteem:

“…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…”

(Jeremiah 29:11 – New International Version).

 

Today, whilst you commemorate those brave men and women, who have laid down their lives in defence of your freedom, let me encourage you to remember another man, who willingly laid aside his royal pedigree and sacrificed his sinless life for you… for the entire world, so that we can know the truth (Jesus is the Truth), and so that our knowledge of and, intimate acquaintance with that truth, will ultimately and irrevocably set us free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Not About You!

CC0 Image - courtesy of ryo taka (Pixabay.com)
CC0 Image – courtesy of ryo taka (Pixabay.com)

 

Effective communication is not about showcasing your wit, or rhetorical prowess. It’s about discerning the needs of your anticipated audience. It’s about speaking to and satisfying their expectations.

(Lady Cee – aka Carol)

 

 

 

Quit Comparing!

Hello dear readers,

I wrote the following article some years ago, to encourage myself and other wannabe writers. I think the fundamental message of this post can also be applied to newbie bloggers, or to anyone pursuing their dream (whatever that might be), or to those who perhaps feel discouraged during their journey towards achievement.

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gems(BrettHondow-Pixabay)
All images from Pixabay.com

Very often we view success in much the same manner as a gorgeous gem within a jeweller’s window display. We’re attracted by the lustre of those diamonds, the flashing brilliance of those stones and the fine quality of gold.

rings (Pixabay)We forget these beautiful jewels have been specially crafted. We forget those precious stones and polished metals had a beginning and that if we were to retrace the journey of those glittering jewels back to their origin, we’d see those finished products from a very different perspective.

RubyNecklace(Pixabay)We’d discover that the item nesting alluringly against a rich velvet backdrop and shining so brilliantly with the help of strategically arranged lighting, started out in a place of complete contrast. It started out in the bowels of the earth.

mine(Pixabay)

Once extracted, if you didn’t know what you were looking at you’d maybe throw it away as a valueless lump of rock. You wouldn’t realise it had the potential to be a thing of beauty, something that evokes admiration, even desire of ownership. You wouldn’t appreciate its capacity to bring pleasure.

The journey of an unpublished writer is very much like the above scenario. We ooh and ahh over the creative brilliance of polished writers. We appreciate their carefully crafted words set against the backdrop of an artfully arranged world. Attracted by another author’s style or success, we long to ‘own’ similar achievements.

books(Pixabay)

However, in our approbation of these works, we often leave a relevant factor out of the equation. Much like our appreciation of a beautiful diamond or sapphire, we forget that this artistic work, these authorial presentations had a fairly insignificant genesis.

Perhaps if we didn’t forget this, we wouldn’t feel despondent, frustrated, or threatened about our own endeavours. Perhaps we’d give ourselves a break, stop mentally flagellating ourselves because we haven’t crafted the ‘perfect’ article, short story or novel.

Perhaps we’d stop dismissing the raw materials mined from the bowels of our creative imagination and instead realise: “Hey! This may not look like much now but given time and patience, it can actually become something of value”.

writer-(Pixabay)

And perhaps, instead of constantly comparing the finely crafted pieces of other writers with our freshly mined lumps of untreated ore, we’d start to appreciate, even enjoy our modest beginnings. We’d begin to see our pursuits, not as a path of frustration and defeat, but of learning and adventure.

Fellow writers (I speak to myself as much as to you), let us view our beginnings and efforts with less negativity and more realistic expectations. Let us put our goals, dreams, aspirations and the different paths we take in order to achieve these, into the right context.

SuccessSignpost(GerdAltmann)Let us not fixate on publishing prowess as the ‘be all and end all’ of authorial accomplishment. Let us not be in such a hurry to arrive at ‘Success Street’ that we forget to enjoy the novelty and nature of our quest.

As aspiring writers, bloggers, purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, let us find encouragement in, and take the following words of Ben Sweetland seriously to heart—Success is a journey, not a destination!

 

IF IT’S GOING TO BE – IT’S UP TO ME!

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

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THEME WORD: Motivation

Your motivation must come from within, and the first principle of motivation – as in any change of behaviour – is to want to change and have a very good reason for doing so.

How To be Motivated All The Time – Peter J Daniels

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Unlock your SUCCESS!
Unlock your SUCCESS!

 

Years ago, I used to attend a Christian Conference hosted by Don Stewart an evangelist. There is a quote I recall from those days, which has stuck in my mind over the years. It is: “If it’s going to be – it’s up to me!”

Success (as we define it – not as the advertising world, celebrities, or other media determines), is up to us. Your success is up to you! My success is up to me!

Have you written down what success looks like for you personally? If you haven’t, how will you know whether you are on the right path or not? How will you recognise when you’ve taken a detour and need to re-join the correct road? If you haven’t, you risk being blown off course by every ill, or fair wind of suggestion. Don’t subscribe to the “one-size-fits-all” scheme. Compose a bespoke plan. And once you have your plan, get to work!

This morning I listened to an excellent motivational video from which I wrote down the following notes:

  1. Success requires work. It is not going to be handed to you on a silver platter
  2. If you are unhappy with your current circumstances, become your own facilitator of change
  3. Stop looking outside of yourself – realise that the ingredients for your success are inside you
  4. Don’t be afraid or too proud to seek help (i.e. advice, principles, strategies, solutions) and don’t assume people know what you need, or expect others to anticipate your needs – be bold and ask!
  5. Don’t be a lone ranger. Locate your success crew and build mutually enhancing relationships
  6. Learn to speak the language of success fluently
  7. Focus on being the best version of you possible.

Below is the 4min motivational video from which I made my above notes. I would encourage you to take the time to watch.

Now to those of you who choose to invest in your success portfolio by watching the above video, may I ask you to share below which success key challenged, inspired, or spoke something afresh to you?

Purpose-driven believers and dream achievers have a great Monday. If you have not already done so, may you soon find your own pathway to SUCCESS.

 

 

Blogging Break

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Image from Pixabay.com

 

Dear fellow bloggers, followers and visitors,

 When I first started blogging I had no idea just how time-consuming this would be. I had not reckoned on the time it takes to interact with others, or the amount of time required to maintain a site. Even though I don’t post as regularly as some others, I’ve found my posting schedule difficult to maintain.

 For various reasons, I’ve decided to take a 2-3 month break from blogging, so this will be my last post for a while.

thank-you(OberholsterVenita)-971644_960_720I’d like to thank all those who have visited and supported me with your comments, likes and encouragement and trust you will still be around when I return.  And I’d like to thank all those bloggers who have, despite their personal trials and busy lives, made time to share their inspirational posts, creative endeavours and beautiful images which have truly, truly blessed me these past few months. Keep up the excellent work and I look forward to re-connecting with you in the near future.

 Best wishes,

 Carol (aka Lady Cee)

 

Will You Leave A Lasting Legacy?

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

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ACHIEVE:

  • To reach, realize or attain (a goal, ambition, etc), especially through hard work
  • To earn or gain (a reputation, etc)
  • To be successful

(Chambers 21st Century Dictionary

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Billie Holiday - Image from Fotoshop Tofs (Pixabay.com)

 

Even though I didn’t know them personally, there have been several celebrities whose deaths have touched my heart. People like Michael Jackson, or the recently deceased Prince, who were the subject of untimely deaths. People like David Bowie and Victoria Wood, whose lives were snuffed out by terminal disease.

These individuals were talented and successful and shared their gifts with the world. Many of us enjoyed their songs, their musical or comic abilities. When they died, their gift died along with them.

However, at least we have the legacy of previously produced songs, scripts and sketches, which they have left behind. At least we can still recall, enjoy and celebrate their achievements.

Which set me thinking…

If I, or you were to leave this world unexpectedly, will we have left behind us a good and lasting legacy? Will we have contributed wholeheartedly of our abilities, gifts and talents?

I pray that the example of those whose writings, films, songs and innovations have brought pleasure and enrichment to our lives, will motivate us to develop and use our own gifts for God’s glory.

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, let’s not go to the grave with our dreams unrealised, our gifts hidden under the bushel of procrastination, our talents buried under excuses, slothfulness or disillusionment. Let’s make every effort to glorify Christ, fulfil our God-given destinies and become dream-achievers.

Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.

Golda Meir

My thinking corner….

Hello all,

I’m so pleased to be bringing a new feature to this site, one which I believe is in keeping with this blog’s ethos and which I hope will be a further source of inspiration, or motivation.

This is a weekly challenge (every Tuesday) hosted by Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha (please check out her blog). The idea is to share snippets of positive thoughts to encourage others. Why not take a leaf out of Jacqueline’s book and spend just 5-10 mins detoxifying your mind by filling it with precious nuggets of positive thoughts. If you’d like to join in don’t hesitate to visit Jacqueline’s Thinking Corner (see side bar section under Inspiration-Motivation) at: https://acookingpotandtwistedtales.com.

And now without further ado, here are my three thoughts for this week, which wing their way towards you direct from my thinking corner on a secluded beach!

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My Thinking Corner… (Image from Pixabay.com)
  • Your creativity is a gift. Don’t let it become your enemy. Harness it. It is better to complete one worthwhile goal than to begin ten others.  (Dream Seeds – Mike Murdock)
  • Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbour he is making for, no wind is the right wind. (Lucius Annaeus Seneca)
  • The past should not be a place where we live, but something from which we learn. (The Power of a Praying Wife – Stormie Omartian)

Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

 

Pursue Creativity

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

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Creativity:

  • the ability to make new things or think of new ideas
  • the quality of being creative
  • the ability to create

Merriam Webster Dictionary

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 In my post Unlock Your Potential, I said:

as human beings, made in the likeness of our creative Father, [we] share the same incredible potential to find creative solutions in whatever context we may find ourselves. We have the same ability to make valuable contributions to the world in which we live”.

 

As purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, are we nurturing a spirit of creativity in our lives?

I have selected the following inspirational quotes in a bid to both influence our thoughts about and, encourage us toward creativity, whilst we pursue our dreams… whilst we journey towards our destiny.

 

  • Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. Edward de Bono

 

  • Creativity is bound up in our ability to find new ways around old problems. Martin Seligman

 

  • There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period. Brene Brown

 

  •  An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail. Edwin Land

 

  • Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. Steve Jobs

 

  • I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few. Brene Brown

 

  • When we are angry or depressed in our creativity, we have misplaced our power. We have allowed someone else to determine our worth, and then we are angry at being undervalued. Julia Margaret Cameron

 

  • There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. Sophia Loren

 

  • Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting. Edward de Bono

 

  • A lot of people forget how important it is to be creative. We get caught up in getting ahead and in day-to-day minutiae. But creativity is a fundamental mode of expression, as is being tenacious and standing by your own convictions and passions, even if it’s not the ‘popular’ choice. Tabatha Coffey

 

SELF SCRUTINY

Did any of the above quotes resonate with you?

If creativity is not something you have actively pursued in your life to date, have any of the above quotes inspired you to change that this year?

If creativity has been a feature of recent endeavours, were you happy with the result? Bearing my above quote in mind, how did it make a positive contribution to the lives of others?

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. Please share your comments in the box below.

You Didn’t Come This Far to Only Come This Far

Have you ever felt like giving up on your dream? I know I have.

 

It is all too easy when you’re feeling discouraged, hurt, tired, or uninspired to want to throw in the towel. Or if you face obstacle after obstacle after obstacle, you might wonder whether the prize (the realisation of your dream) is really worth all the effort, the heartache, the pushing through. And, if your efforts do not appear to be appreciated or celebrated, you might wonder whether there is any point in continuing with what you are doing, or are seeking to achieve. Perhaps even, the voices of opposition, of nay-sayers and dream-squashers have infiltrated your mind and thoughts and may even begin to cause you to concur with their opinions!

That’s why it’s vital to have a supportive community around you. It’s important to have people who will speak a positive word into your life. And it can be invaluable, when that key word is spoken at the right time. I read a post this week from a very switched-on young lady, whose words of wisdom belie her years. I just had to reblog this post and I trust it will be a timely word of encouragement and inspiration to many of you.

Purpose-driven believers and dream achievers, I wish you all a blessed and victorious week!

sherinaspeaks

There are many ways to determine the importance of a moment. To me, one of the best ways is to consider how long the moment stays with you after it happens. There was a small moment I experienced a few weeks ago which seemed insignificant at the time, yet it constantly drifts in and out of my thoughts.

I was at the gym with my friend, taking a kickbox cardio class. Near the end of the class, the instructor said something that stuck with me: “You didn’t come this far to only come this far.” I’d seen the quote on Pinterest before, but it was different hearing it in that moment, when I was exhausted and sweaty and willing the clock to go faster so the class would be over. I had worked hard during the class, and I hearing that quote made me realize that I didn’t put in…

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Be Grateful!

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.

Denis Waitley

 

Long, long, long ago, I used to read a regular comic strip in a daily newspaper. The characters were called Ivor Lott and Tony Broke (get it?).

Anyway, one story that forever stands clear in my memory was a Christmas feature. In the opening scene, Tony Broke is given a gift, with which he is clearly delighted. In the next scene, Tony visits his well-to-do school mate, Ivor Lott. He is shown into a room by the family’s butler.

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Abundance (Image: Nuno Lopes – Pixabay.com)

Ivor has a mountain of gifts and is pictured dressed in ski wear and using his skis to negotiate his way up the steep incline of presents to the top. The picture always made me smile. And even now, the memory of that scenario still has the power to raise a smile and chuckle. Poor Tony looks on in envy and suddenly does not seem so appreciative of his one little gift.

Why am I telling you this story? Because I want to draw a parallel here.

Compared with people in the developing world, many of us are blessed with abundance. Yet, shamefully, even as Christians, we can become dissatisfied with our lot and murmur against God.

Tony Broke (Image from Pixabay.com)
Poverty (Image from Pixabay.com)

If you are a constant complainer, be aware that God hears and he hates ungrateful attitudes (e.g. see Numbers 11:1-6).

As purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, we should (like the Apostle Paul), learn to be content – Philippians 4:11-12.

Am I saying we should not have ambition or aspire to be, or do better? No! Am I saying we should not strive after, or enjoy success?  Absolutely not!

What I am saying is: we must watch our attitudes. What I am saying is, we must not get involved in unhealthy competition. What I am saying is we need to guard our hearts from covetousness. And above all, I’m saying, let’s recognise and be thankful for the current benefits and blessings we already possess.

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.

Zig Ziglar

 

If you do not already make it a habit to give God thanks, make this day, this week, this year, the time you begin to do so regularly. Why not make a list of the benefits you’ve been blessed with, then whenever you feel tempted to murmur, complain, feel hard-done-by, or compare yourself with others who are more successful, read that list, remember those less fortunate than yourself and give God sincere thanks.

 

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, followers and visitors, I pray that April will be a month of lasting inner peace, personal growth and contentment for you all. Shalom!

Secrets of Success…

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

(2nd and last Mondays of each month)

 

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Image by Gerd Altmann – Pixabay.com

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THEME WORD: SUCCESS

  • The quality of succeeding or the state of having succeeded
  • Any favourable development or outcome
  • Someone who attains fame, power, wealth etc or is judged favourably by others
  • Something that turns out well or that is judged favourably by others

(Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)

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“The whole secret of a successful life is to find out what is one’s destiny to do, and then do it.”

Henry Ford

 

As purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers we can all benefit from the advice of those who have already reached that pinnacle of success in their own lives.

In the following video (10 mins), Oprah Winfrey shares her 10 keys for achieving success.

 

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, may I encourage you as you pursue your destiny? God is no respecter of persons – what He has done for others, He is able (and willing) to do for you! Please understand what I am saying here – whatever destiny has been earmarked for you, God is able to help you reach it… He is able to help you attain success with regards to that pre-ordained destiny.

 

SELF SCRUTINY:

Which key(s) spoke the most to you? Would you add any other?

Is there an attitude you need to change… a mind-set you need to adopt?

Please share your response in the comment box below.

 

 

 

 

May I wash your feet?

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Image from Benno Oosterom – Pixabay.com

 

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.

After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’  feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.

John 13:3-5 (NKJ)

 

In recent weeks we’ve been looking at life metaphors. One of mine is that life is a journey. I believe most of you would agree with me that we are all on a journey of some kind—a journey towards our dreams and aspirations, towards God’s purpose for our lives and ultimately towards our eternal destiny.

In biblical times it was the custom for hosts to wash the dust and grime from the feet of their guests. It was an act of hospitality but also seen as an act of servitude. To wash someone else’s feet requires humility, as demonstrated by Jesus when he laid aside his garments to wash the feet of his disciples.

In Luke 7:36-47 we read an account of a woman filled with deep remorse over her past sins. It would seem she was convinced Jesus was the expected Saviour sent by God to save, i.e. deliver people from the guilt, stain and shame of sin (Matthew 1:21). She makes her heartfelt plea for forgiveness… for release from her transgressions, by anointing and washing the feet of Jesus.

I find it ironic that a Pharisee, to whom observance of the rites of washing represented an important religious tradition, would invite Jesus to dinner, insult him by not offering the common courtesies of a host, yet when this woman anoints Jesus’ feet and washes them with her tears, he is inwardly critical of Jesus, he is inwardly dismissive and despising of this woman.

Here is a man who needs salvation. Here is a man, I am sure, would have heard about the miraculous works of Jesus. Did he only invite Jesus to dinner so he could look good in front of his friends? Did he not recognise Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah? Did he not realise that he himself was as much a sinner as the prostitute, who’d gate-crashed his dinner party, who lay prostrate at his guest’s feet, weeping and seeking forgiveness?

We gain further insight into this man’s heart after Jesus shares the story of two debtors (Matthew 26:39-47). In a nutshell, because Simon saw little need for forgiveness from Jesus, his love and respect for his invited guest was measured accordingly. In fact, Simon even doubted the authenticity of Christ’s pedigree: “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.

Simon was perhaps only curious about Jesus, or wanted the kudos of being able to say that Christ, a celebrity, had dined at his house. Although he had little love and respect for Jesus, he was willing to use the Lord for his own purposes.

When you do not respect the one who died for you, it is easy to take his life, presence and ability to bless you for granted. It is easy for you to care only about what he can do for you, instead of falling down on your knees in remorse, repentance, gratitude and worship for all he has done for you. It is easy to forget that Christ sacrificed his life for us, even though, as *John Newton observed, we were an undeserving wretch.

The only reason we are now worthy, the only reason we have been exalted to the position of God’s heirs and joint-heir with Christ… to a position of kings and priests in the Kingdom of the only Potentate (1 Timothy 6:15), is because Jesus willingly subjected himself to the cruellest death imaginable, so that I, so that you, so that whosoever wants to, can be saved, healed, delivered and restored.

As followers of and visitors to my blog, I would like to extend to you this biblical hospitality. Figuratively, I would like to wash the dirt, dust and grime from your feet as you pause to rest, before continuing on your journey.

I pray God will use the words I write to wash away the dirt from dashed hopes and dreams, defeat, despair and bitter disappointment. I believe God will anoint my words and use them to remove the dust of self-sufficiency or self-pity. And, I am trusting that God will remove the grime of pride (if and when applicable), whether it be pride of life, status or accomplishment. I pray he will do this both in your lives and in mine. Will you allow Him to do so?

Make no mistake, we all need the water of God’s Word to continually cleanse us, or quench our thirst. We all need the refreshment of his presence, his words of comfort, encouragement and peace. So my invite goes out to you all. Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, come and accept my hospitality. Come, and let me wash your feet, let me serve you with the precious love of Jesus.

*Author of hymn Amazing Grace


 

And, whilst you’re here, I take this opportunity to wish all my followers and visitors a Happy Easter!

 

 

 

 

Charisma or Character?

tri-delta(Character-JohnHain)-651443_960_720Image by John Hain – Pixabay.com

 

In recent weeks, we have considered our life metaphors.  We learned that the Bible reveals 3 metaphors, which indicate God’s perspective regarding life. They are:

  • Life is a test
  • Life is a trust
  • Life is a temporary assignment.

In his best-selling publication, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren said that when we understand life is a test, we will realise that there is no situation we face and no incident that occurs, which is insignificant.

So, what is the purpose of tests?

Deuteronomy 8:2 provides a clue:

And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.

 

And Rick Warren further elaborates on the purpose of tests. He says:

 

Character is both developed and revealed by tests

 

And so, in this post, we’re going to take a look at character.


People are drawn to individuals with charisma, to people who are successful. But often, if you were to scratch below the surface of that man or woman, what you find there may not be so attractive.

On the other hand, you may know of some individuals who are ordinary on the outside yet they have such a beautiful character, others are drawn to them.

No one wants to be around people who constantly murmur and complain and see life only from a negative viewpoint. When last have you attended a function and seen people gathered around an individual who had a mournful face, who bleated on and on and on about their troubles and the only thing they had going for them was a “woe is me” attitude? It’s just not gonna happen is it?

We want to surround ourselves with people who are fun, who are positive, who makes us feel good about ourselves and who have something to offer us that will help us on, in our journey in life.

Jesus was clearly like this. Crowds followed him. Women were devoted to and freely ministered to him. His disciples fought over who would sit next to him in heaven and people left their livelihoods and loved ones in order to follow him.

How about you and me? Are you someone that others like to be around? Whom others will turn to during times of need? Are you positive, complimentary and encouraging? Or are you cynical, sarcastic, given to making cruel or cutting jibes?

Recent party political campaigns in America have brought a well-known business mogul to our attention, in the person of Donald Trump. Unfortunately, media footage has presented an unflattering and at times a quite damning picture of this candidate.

Now whilst this man may have reached the pinnacle of success as far as his business interests is concerned, his treatment of fellow-candidates and media representatives reveals an unattractive character. You could not accuse him of being a “people-person”! And even if you agreed with his policies would you want to work under his administration? Would you relish the thought of having to endure a close working relationship with him?

One of the things the Queen of Sheba noted when she came to visit Solomon was how happy the servants were that worked for him. Now that must have been a striking and unusual feature of palace life for her to notice and remark upon it. I mean, how many people notice servants? Generally, important individuals see the staff who serve them as a non-entity, as part of an inconsequential background and the only time servants get noticed is when they do something wrong.

No doubt, there was something special about the atmosphere Solomon had created around him and amongst his servants. He was rich. He was successful. He was celebrated. People flocked to hear his wisdom. Yet he did not allow these facts to inflate his ego and cause him to peer down at his subordinates with disdain. He knew how to treat others, whether rich or poor, great or small. I believe he must have had a wonderful character.

I’m not saying that everyone will celebrate you. We know the religious leaders of Christ’s day were not enamoured of him. But at the end of the day there is someone to whom we are indebted, someone who owns us body and soul (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And so our desire should be to please Him, to seek to tailor our character and conduct to His ideals.

As purpose-driven believers and/or dream achievers the tests we face in life can either hone or harden our character. It’s not always the rich and famous who display arrogance, or pride, or a vicious tongue. Jesus said that from the abundance of our heart, the mouth will speak (Luke 6:45). In other words, the thoughts we treasure or accumulate in our hearts defines our character and if that treasure, that storehouse, is ugly then our character will be ugly and much as you may want to hide it, or put on an act, your true nature will reveal itself through the words you speak.

Thoughts-actions-character (ImageQuote_

Negative words may not necessarily be directed towards others. They can very well be aimed at ourselves. How many times have we beaten ourselves up with the vocabulary of failure, fear and despair? Studies show that from childhood we can unconsciously absorb the negative or nasty thoughts, attitudes and behaviour of others toward ourselves. God’s Word is full of His life-giving thoughts and opinions regarding us, yet somehow we place more importance upon what others think and say about us (particularly those who dislike and disrespect us).

If we are honest, we may believe, we may even convince ourselves that we are “nice” but God does not have to dig too far below the surface for us to discover that truly we are not! As the Bible says, our own righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

Thank God, he was generous-hearted and wise in imputing His righteousness to us. Our heavenly father’s desire is that we conform to the image of his Son Jesus. I think you will agree with me that character-wise you can’t get a better role model than our Lord Jesus Christ.

So, my lovely followers and readers, in all your aspirations, pursuits, endeavours and successes, remember this—what you build with your gift, you can destroy with your character!

PS: I’d love to hear your responses to this post.  Please let me know in the comment box below.

 

Go Forth And Motivate Thyself!

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

(2nd and last Mondays of each month)

 

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MOTIVATION:

Motivation involves the biological, emotional, social and cognitive forces that activate behavior. In everyday usage, the term motivation is frequently used to describe why a person does something.

(Definition taken from About.com)

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Hi dear reader!

It’s March already, so I thought I’d check how things are going with you all regarding your goals, dreams and endeavours as purpose-driven believers and/or dream-achievers. So how are you getting on?

If you are anything like me, you have perhaps faltered along the way. If so, don’t be disheartened, don’t feel condemned and most importantly, don’t give up! If you haven’t yet started you’ve still got 10 months, or you can begin your year from March 2016 to February 2017, or for 12 months from whatever month you decide to begin! The choice is yours – just get started.

I’ve recently been thinking about motivation, particularly self-motivation and here’s what I discovered:

There are 3 elements to self-motivation (activation, persistence, focus)

 

  • ACTIVATION – Have you got a dream or a goal? Have you planned, or have you begun to plan how you will accomplish that goal or realise that dream? Have you started on whatever task you need to do, which will take you from A to B and so on until you reach Z?

 

  • PERSISTENCE – Have you made up your mind to continue on your dream pathway despite any difficulties you may encounter, or discouragement you may face?

 

  • FOCUS – Are you concentrating your energies and focusing your attention upon your intended goal?

 

Perhaps you find yourself lacking in motivation. If you can’t put your finger on why that is, check out this post for possible answers: (6 reasons why we lack motivation).

Finally, remember as Christians we face an ongoing onslaught from our Enemy designed to undermine our faith, break our focus and bring discouragement. It’s too easy when faced by obstacles or opposition, to throw in the towel. Listen to what this writer has to say on the subject:

The best antidote to discouragement is motivation. A person who is both personally and permanently motivated doesn’t give up easily!

(Barry Chant – author and founder of Tabor College, Australia)

 

So, purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, be encouraged. Go forth and motivate thyself!

 

SELF SCRUTINY:

Do you lack motivation, or are you unsure how to motivate yourself? If so, the following suggestions may help (25 ways to motivate self).

Did you find something useful? Then why not share below which idea you intend to adopt?

However, if you are someone who is highly, or consistently motivated, please share your strategies for self-motivation in the comment box below.

 

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Is Your Life-Metaphor Flawed?

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MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

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Metaphor:

  • An expression in which the person, action or thing referred to is described as if it really were what it merely resembles (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)

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In his book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren states that the way we see our lives will shape our lives. He says, whether consciously or unconsciously, our life-metaphor (the internal image we have of life) will influence how we conduct our lives. For example, if you see your life as a showcase, this will probably influence the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the house you live in and the people you associate with.

With regard to the image we have of our lives, Warren says:

Your unspoken life metaphor influences your life more than you realize. It determines your expectations, your values, your relationships, your goals, and your priorities.

Warren also suggests that we might be conducting our lives on the basis of a flawed life-metaphor. He then challenges us to see our lives from God’s point of view and highlights three life-metaphors revealed in the Bible. They are:

Life is a:

  • TEST – Consider Abraham and Joseph (who passed)  Judas and Peter (who failed)*
  • TRUST – Consider Adam & Eve (entrusted with the Garden of Eden and the earth), the servants in Christ’s Parable of the Talents (entrusted with their master’s resources)**
  • TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT – Consider biblical terms, such as Christ’s ambassador, Steward, Pilgrim, which describe our earthly roles, or the mindset we should be adopting.***

*Genesis 22:10-18; Genesis 50:15-21; Luke 22:3-6; Luke 22:54-62

**Genesis 1:27-28, Genesis 2:8, 15; Matthew 25:14-29

***2 Corinthians 5:20; Luke 12:42-44; 1 Peter 2:11

 

SELF SCRUTINY:

Purpose-driven believers and dream achievers, given the above, how does your current life-metaphor fit with God’s perspective? Have you been challenged to change your outlook, or have these 3 metaphors brought clarity regarding your life experiences of the past?

I’d love to hear from you. Please share your response in the comment box below.

 

NB: if you would like to explore Rick Warren’s views as revealed in his book The Purpose Driven Life, you may want to visit the following website. You can also purchase this book from Amazon.

What Is Your Life Metaphor?

MOTIVATIONAL MONDAY

 

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Metaphor:

  • An expression in which the person, action or thing referred to is described as if it really were what it merely resembles (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)

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Life is a:

  • battle
  • burden
  • bowl of cherries
  • challenge
  • circus
  • merry-go-round
  • journey
  • struggle
  • symphony
  • movie
  • mystery
  • rose garden

 

The above statements are all metaphors which describe how people see the world, or see their lives.

In his book, Notebook From A Friend – A Quick and Simple Guide to Taking Charge of Your Life, Anthony Robbins says the following:

Behind every metaphor is a system of beliefs. When you choose a metaphor to describe your life, or your situation, you choose the beliefs it supports too. This is why you want to be careful about the way you describe your world—to yourself or to anyone else.

 

SELF SCRUTINY:

What metaphor do you use to describe your life? Given Robbins’ statement above, will you stick with that image, or change it? Please share your response in the comments below.

 

Give God Your All

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Image from: Pixabay.com

Has your life been a failure so far? God can change that! Have you enjoyed a measure of success? God can take you to a higher level of achievement! Want to maximise your potential? Make yourself available to God! He is able to do infinitely beyond your highest desires and dreams.

The following is an excerpt from The UCB Word For Today, a free devotional* written by Bob and Debby Gass.

Now to Him, Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do super-abundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—

Ephesians 3:20 (Amplified Bible)

 

IF YOU only have a thimble-worth of capacity and you’re standing on the edge of a vast ocean, you have access to a lot of water but you won’t get much of it because your capacity is so small. If you have the capacity of a bucket you’ll get more than a thimble, but once the bucket is full the ocean can do you no more good. If you have a barrel you’ll get more than a bucket, but once the barrel is full you will still only have taken advantage of a miniscule part of the ocean.

The idea is to offer God the biggest container possible. Offer Him all of you so that He can accomplish what He wants to do in your life. And no matter how successful you may be, you still haven’t maximised all that God wants to do in you and through you. Paul puts it this way: ‘Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.’

When you give your life to Christ, the Holy Spirit takes up residence within you. That means if your life has been a failure thus far, He can turn it into a success. And if your life has been successful thus far, He can take you to a higher level of success. That’s why you should begin each morning by praying: ‘Lord, I make myself totally available to You this day; work through me to accomplish Your will.’ That’s a prayer God will answer.

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Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers why not make 2016 a year where you increase your availability to God and increase your capacity to be filled with more and more and more of Him?

________________________________

*Free postal copies of The UCB Word For Today are available from:

FREEPOST RLTX-ABUL-GRAR, United Christian Broadcasters, Westport Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST6 4JF  (UK and Republic of Ireland only)

For the online version, or to receive by email visit: http://www.ucb.co.uk/word-for-today.html

 

Looking Back – Glancing Forward: Happy New Year!

Image: CC0 Public Domain - Pixabay.com
Image: CC0 Public Domain – Pixabay.com

 

The end of 2015 approaches with rapid speed. This is not a time for regret but for review and sober reflection.

If you failed to achieve some, or all of your goals, don’t be discouraged and don’t despair. Review why this is the case. Was it down to lack of resources? Motivation? Procrastination? Slothfulness?

If applicable, work out what you need to do in order to overcome any self-sabotaging mindset you may have and consider what changes of behaviour you need to adopt, which will assist you in achieving your goals this coming year. If necessary, re-assess those goals. Are they SMART? In other words they should be:

  • S = specific: don’t say ‘I want to lose weight’ – have a plan to lose x lbs
  • M = measurable: break your goal down into elements that will provide you with concrete evidence of progress. If you are aiming to write a book of 70,000 words within 1 year then divide that figure by 12, so that you know what your monthly target is, in order to achieve that goal
  • A = attainable: do you have the talent, time, knowledge or resources to achieve this? If not, can you, or are you willing to juggle your priorities, take evening classes, update/acquire new skills, work extra hours, or do whatever it may require, to put you on the path of achievement?
  • R = realistic: It is probably not wise to set a goal ‘to become a millionaire within 6 months’ if you are currently jobless and homeless!
  • T = Time-limited: Goals set for ‘some sweet day’ in the future are unlikely to be achieved. Set a specific time-frame or target date – e.g. I will read my entire bible within 1 year.

Perhaps you managed to achieve at least one, or some, or all of your goals last year. If so, congratulations! Give God thanks and celebrate your accomplishments.  Why not inspire others by humbly sharing about your success in the comment box below?

In pursuing your dreams, have you learned any positive behaviours, or picked up any valuable tips that you can take with you into this New Year?

Have you grown as a person? Matured as a Child of God? Gained wisdom from things you did (or failed to do), which you can add to your cache of knowledge, utilise in the future and perhaps pass on to others?

ZIG ZIGLAR, a motivational speaker observes:

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Have you recorded your failures and triumphs, so you have a record from which to encourage, motivate and monitor yourself on your ongoing journey towards success… towards pursuing your purpose-driven destiny? Have you thanked those who believed in, encouraged, helped and supported you?

Have you thanked your Heavenly Father for his breath within you that enables you to rise each morning and enjoy (or endure) another day? Have you thanked Jesus for his promise to never leave or forsake you… for his example when he walked on this earth as a purpose-driven achiever and for his continued ministry in heaven on your behalf, as an Advocate and Intercessor? Have you thanked the Holy Spirit for his comfort, counsel, empowerment, guidance and support whilst you sought to discover and execute God’s purpose for your life… whilst you pursued your dreams?

If you are interested in learning more about goal-setting (a great tool for life-management, ministry or business/career/spiritual development) check out the video below:

Finally, Happy New Year dream-achiever! I pray 2016 will be a year of increase for you, a year of peace, joy and God-glorifying accomplishments.

 

 

Discovering Your Purpose

CC0 Public Domain – Pixabay.com
CC0 Public Domain – Pixabay.com

 

I believe that God has put gifts and talents and ability on the inside of every one of us. When you develop that and you believe in yourself and you believe that you’re a person of influence and a person of purpose, I believe you can rise up out of any situation.

Joel Osteen

 

What is my purpose? Have you asked yourself this question? If so, did you receive a satisfactory answer, or are you still in the dark?

I believe that at some point in our lives, God drops that purpose into our hearts. I believe that even from an early age, without being aware of it, we can find ourselves enacting an element of this purpose, or we can display the beginnings of our God-given calling.

As a young person I loved to teach.  I would help my younger siblings with their homework, hold play classes, and even taught 2 of my sisters how to touch-type.  By the time they arrived at secondary school they were proficient and were streets ahead of their fellow class-mates.  It made them feel good and I felt proud that I’d not only been instrumental in making them shine, I had also equipped them with a valuable skill.

Through my help, these sisters had developed their potential.  They didn’t just watch me and say: I’d like to type one day.  They listened to and obeyed my instructions and they practiced. Gradually they improved until one day they became proficient enough to stand head and shoulders above their classmates. Potential.

Similarly, if we want to discover what we’ve been put on this earth to do and, if we wish to develop our potential, we can engage the assistance of one who is eminently qualified. The Holy Spirit, who has been sent alongside us to be our helper, knows God’s plan for our lives. He is able to reveal to us our Father’s pre-ordained purpose. He is able to teach and equip usbut whether we actually develop our potential and fulfil our purpose, is entirely up to us.  We have to want to discover our purpose. We have to want to do whatever it takes to fulfil our God-given calling.  Cherishing a dream is not the same as actually pursuing it!

For years I spoke to others and said I wanted to be a writer. Years. But I only spoke about it, read how-to books on it and cherished the desire in my heart.  Did that make me a writer? No! Absolutely not. After all, a writer writes! Apart from the odd poem here, an article there or some bible teaching notes at irregular intervals, I did not write at all. It was only when I began to write regularly and practically apply my knowledge that I started to feel I had earned the right and could say to myself with confidence – I am a writer!

Do you want to be a purpose-driven achiever? Then you need to seek God’s face, learn his ways and apply His Word to your circumstances. You need to pay heed to James’ exhortation and be a doer of God’s Wordnot just a hearer (James 1:22).

Let’s consider two biblical examples of people who discovered and fulfilled their God-given purpose.

Although Moses was brought up in Pharaoh’s palace, there was a burning desire in his heart to see his people (the Children of Israel) delivered from enslavement to the Egyptians. I believe he was being driven by God’s ordained purpose for his life. Somehow, whether it was an instinctive knowing, or the Lord had revealed this to him, Moses realised he was not called to sit back and enjoy the pleasures of Pharaoh’s palace  but to deliver the Children of Israel from bondage (Hebrews 11:24-26).  Unfortunately, he took matters into his own hands and murdered someone.

Joseph knew he was destined for higher things. He dreamed of prestige and prominence and was confident his future held much more for him than his family’s mundane life as a shepherd.  However, the coat of many colours he wore and his God-given dreams and vision, made him feel and act superior.

The above examples illustrate how wrong actions and attitudes can get in the way of us fulfilling our purpose. God then needs to bring us through a process to humble and purify our hearts. Moses, forced to flee for his life, spent decades in the wilderness looking after sheep.  Joseph, sold by his jealous brothers as a slave to merchants, was falsely accused of attempted rape and left to languish in jail.

God’s process of humbling and honing our characters, reminds us in no uncertain terms that He is in control. It hammers home the fact that our Father looks not for ability but for availability. It underlines the truth that he uses those with a servant heart, those whose lives bear the hallmark of  humility. God wants us to recognise that our success, or our accomplishments within the context of his divine purpose for our lives will not happen by self-effort, personal might, or willpower but by his Holy Spirit (Zechariah 4:6).

Do you have an inkling of what your God-given purpose may be? If you do, are you working consistently towards that purpose? If you are not yet aware of what it is God has called and gifted you to do, are you willing to seek Him until he reveals what that pre-ordained calling is?

Dear reader be assured of this: God has both purposed and empowered you to be a dream-achiever.

 

Develop Your Potential

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One of the saddest experiences which can come to a human being is to awaken, gray-haired and wrinkled, near the close of an unproductive career, to the fact that all through the years he has been using only a small part of himself.

(V. W. Burrows)

 

Everyone has potential. Everyone. How could we not? After all we have been created in the image of an awesome God.  We only have to consider the work of His hands – the wonderful world in which we live with its mind-boggling universe, its astounding fauna and flora and its beautiful landscapes – to gain some insight into that fact.

Since we are the offspring of such an ultra-creative being, then we too have the potential to be highly creative. To put it another way, we are all chips from the old block! No discourtesy intended!

And so we have this enormous ability inside of us – a potential to be, to do, to become. Do you agree that you have an incredible range of capabilities within you just waiting to be discovered? Are you using your God-given abilities? If not, are you willing to explore, discover and develop your potential?

Apart from there being latent abilities within us, our God-given dreams also have potential. They have the ability to be transformed from an idea, a desire, a wish, a persistent thought or a vision, into the realm of reality.

However, this process, from dream-seed to reality, requires faith (confidence in God and in who you are in Christ). But not faith alone – the process requires faith and works. The Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). So right there we are being given a clue – our dreams (the focus of our faith) require action and without action our dreams are dead, or will eventually die. They will remain dormant, their potential unrealised.

I have wasted many years believing that because God said I was going to be such and such and do so and so, all I had to do was wait for it to happen.  How mistaken was I! No my friends. We have to apply ourselves to a task and/or get involved with some type of activity, in order that the Godhead may guide, help, inspire, motivate  and work with us.

If we merely sit around waiting for our big dream to materialise, or feel that somehow, some sweet day, God will catapult us into fulfilment of our dreams, then we are labouring under a misapprehension.

You want biblical proof of this? Done! 1 Kings 19:16-21 reveals God’s ordained purpose for Elisha. He was to be Elijah’s successor. Prior to that, he’d been content as owner of 12 yoke of oxen. He’d been content to plough fields.  However, God’s call upon his life stirred within Elisha a new dream – he craved a double portion of his master’s anointing (2 Kings 2: 8-15).

So Elisha served (action), he observed and imitated (action). He developed his potential and realised his God-given dream of becoming an effective and powerful prophet of Israel by adding works to his faith. In doing so, Elisha achieved phenomenal results, to the extent that he performed twice as many miracles as Elijah, to the extent that even though he had died, his skeletal bones produced a miracle! (2 Kings 13:20-21).

Edwin Louis Cole, author of The Potential Principle – Living Life To Its Maximum, observes:

“Everything in life has potential, but it must be developed. It never develops itself.”

My heart-felt prayer for every reader of this post is that God will encourage, empower and inspire you to constantly develop and maximise your potential.  Don’t wait a moment longer – become a dream-achiever!

 

Titles and Taglines

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Have you ever experienced a ‘brainstorm block’? Never heard of it? Not surprised! I’ve just invented the phrase. Brainstorm block has just got to be the most frustrating nightmare of any creative writer/blogger.

I’m behind with my exercises for the Blogging 101 course. I’m trying not to feel overwhelmed and anxious about the fact that it is Day 5 and I’ve only done one exercise. One! Talk about being a slow coach!

Ok, so I can’t quite shake off this perfectionist thing and my personality (or is it pride?) won’t allow me to just put something out there (anything as long as I hand something in). Nope, it’s got to be my best, which means as near perfect (in my estimation) as I can make it. But at this rate, week 3 (the end of this course) will come and go and the week 1 exercises will only just have been completed.

But what to do? My brain had seized up. Brainstorm block had taken over my mind with a vengeance draining it of all capacity to think, or conjure up even a mediocre idea.

Exercise 2 requires me to come up with a tagline. I have two blogs, therefore I need two taglines. But hard as I tried, not a single idea sprang to mind! How can this be so? Prior to this, ideas for a number of potential posts had inundated the little grey cells (as Hercules Poirot would say). But now, when all I want is a teeny weeny phrase to use as a tagline on each of my blogs there is nothing! Not even a naff idea!

For the uninitiated, a tagline is a short phrase that sits within the heading section of your blog. Together, the title and tagline provide visitors with clues as to the blog’s purpose and message.

Now, when I set up and launched my blog, I had absolutely no idea what a tagline was, or what it was supposed to do. So, when prompted to add one, I ignored the direction. After all, I have the name of my site and that’s the most important part – right?

I wasn’t convinced that my blogs needed this extra element but since I’ve enrolled on this course in order to learn, I felt the least I can do is seriously consider the suggestion and give the exercise a shot. So I read and re-read the exercise script and supporting articles. Light dawned. Yet still I found myself in not-a-shred-of-an-idea valley. This worrying condition lasted about 3-4 days. Had my brain cells shut down for the winter? Perhaps I should skip this and move on to the next exercise. Then all of a sudden – bingo! Ideas came for both of my blogs.

After adding the taglines, I could see how just that simple addition not only clarified my stance and purpose for both blogs, but also aesthetically improved the look of each site. I hadn’t appreciated that the title on its own looked naked, bereft. Now, it looks finished, complete. A win-win situation!

With exercise 2 completed, I can now happily move on. Let me guess… you’re curious to know what my little grey cells came up with aren’t you? Well, a glance upwards to the top of this page should reveal: Pursuing my destiny – Maximizing my potential and the Women of Warfare site states: – Victim or Victor – You can choose!

And so, to all adult learners and apprentice dream-achievers – the moral of my experience is: be humble, be open-minded, be teachable.  As the good book says:

 A wise man will hear and increase learning,

And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5).

Unlock Your Potential

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Potential – the range of capabilities that someone or something has; powers or resources not yet developed or made use of (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary)

“Potential is like a seed.  It is buried ability and hidden power that needs to be cultivated.”  Myles Munroe, Understanding Your Potential

You may not believe it. You may not want to accept it as truth. Nevertheless I am going to say it – you have enormous potential! How can I say that? Because you are the handiwork of a master creator! We have seen and marvelled over the work of God’s hands, the ingenuity of his mind.  As people made in his image, that same capacity for creativity, that same potential for greatness lies within each man, woman and child.  However, the onus is upon us to discover, develop and nurture it.

Humour me for a moment and let’s travel back in time to the Garden of Eden.  When God created Adam, He gave him a specific task to fulfil (see Genesis 2:19-20).  Adam had no one else to consult, no one with whom he could confer and no one to emulate.  He simply had to get on with his assignment, drawing from inner resources to fulfil his responsibility. Can you appreciate the creativity and imagination required for Adam to name every beast and every bird? (I sometimes find it hard to come up with a suitable password!)

These two verses paint a scenario of significant achievement.  They demonstrate that we as human beings, made in the likeness of our creative Father, share the same incredible potential to find creative solutions in whatever context we may find ourselves. We have the same ability to make valuable contributions to the world in which we live. That is potential with a capital P!

In order to grasp the reality and scope of what lies within each one of us, I want you to consider potential as a seed – the seed of a fruit tree.  Now that seed contains the latent ability to develop into a tree and produce fruit and that fruit contains more seeds and therefore the potential for more trees…  more fruit…  I’m sure you’re getting the picture.

You and I are like that seed. Within each of us lies a fount of untapped ability and resources – the stuff of dreams! Yet, according to scientists, we use as little as 10% of our abilities. A shocking fact, when one realises that within most of us, as much as 90% of our capabilities lie dormant.

Regarding human potential, American philosopher and psychologist, William James, had this to say: “Compared to what we ought to be, we are only half awake. We are making use of only a small part of our physical and mental resources. Stating the thing broadly, the human individual thus lives far within his limits. He possesses power of various sorts which he habitually fails to use.”

So how do we remedy this habitual failing and unlock our potential? How can we tap into that fount of creativity?  Winston Churchill believed that “Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential”.  It sounds simple and accessible doesn’t it? Not superhuman strength, or super-intelligence – just continuous effort. It would be easy to dismiss Churchill’s observation as being too simplistic.  I mean if that’s the case, why aren’t people generally more creative? Why don’t we experience an ever-flowing release of our potential?

Well, I believe the key lies in the phrase ‘continuous effort’. Not now-and again effort, once in a blue moon effort, only when I’m in the mood effort – but continuous effort! Does that mean becoming a workaholic, or being so driven your life becomes unbalanced? Absolutely not! It means you and I have to learn to adopt a mind-set that focuses on an end goal. It means arming ourselves with a determined will to find a way through obstacles and go all the way to the finishing line. It means being persistent despite difficulties or discouragement, for they will surely raise their ugly heads during the course of our pursuits. It means not expecting God (or anyone else) to present us with a silver platter of opportunities from which we can select our heart’s desires. It means not resting on our laurels.

In his book An Enemy Called Average, John L. Mason challenges believers to step away from the well-trodden path of mediocrity.  He says: “If you choose not to step out and make maximum use of the gifts and talents in your life, you will spend your days on this earth helping someone else reach his goals.  Most people let others control their destiny. Don’t allow anyone to take over the driver’s seat in your life.  Fulfil your own dreams and determine your own life’s course.”

If the above speaks to you where you are at right now, are you ready to accept Mason’s challenge? Are you prepared to discover and utilise your unique skills and abilities, your God-ordained purpose? Will you commit to developing your potential?

RESOURCE LINKS:

http://www.amazon.com/Enemy-Called-Average-John-Mason/dp/089274765X

Dream-achievers!

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What does  Rick Warren (best-selling author), David Oyelowo (celebrated actor), or Ashley Smith (Born-again ex drug addict), have in common? Read on, and you will see!

But first, can I let you into a secret? This blog should have been launched in the summer of last year (2014)! For various reasons it was not. Suffice it to say that Rick Warren’s book The Purpose Driven Life (one of my motivations for this blog’s existence) and the film Captive  (recently released in the UK), are big factors in my decision to launch it now.

Warren’s inspirational book played an important role both in this film and in the life of Ashley Smith, the single mother, whose life-threatening experience is captured in this crime drama.

When I first heard about the film and its plot, I dismissed it as improbable and ridiculous. Imagine my utter surprise when I discovered it was based on a true story (truth, as they say, is sometimes stranger than fiction!). It got my attention and changed my mind. I resolved to go see it.

I did, and very much enjoyed this faith-based film, the more so I think because of its connection with a real-life incident and because David Oyelowo, who played the lead, is an excellent actor. Furthermore, not only did Oyelowo (a Christian) deliver a sterling performance, I was impressed and thrilled to learn that he was also a producer of the film. Which brings me round to my reasons for choosing to launch this blog now.

Premier Christian Radio interviewed both Ashley Smith and David Oyelowo. You can listen to these two interviews (see links below) but I regret they are only available for 30 days from the date they were aired (24 and 29 September respectively). I appreciate your time is precious, so be warned, the breakfast shows are approx. 2hrs long. If you wish to fast forward, I have included the specific segment period below where each interview occurs. Happy listening!

If you decide not to listen, or you arrive at this page after these interviews have been withdrawn, I do hope you will enjoy what the rest of this site has to offer.

INTERVIEWS:

  1. Ashley Smith reveals how her life changed when 10 years ago, wanted murderer and rapist, Brian Nichols broke into her home: http://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Inspirational-Breakfast/Episodes/Inspirational-Breakfast333  (interview segment = 1:10:30 to 1:22:35)
  2. David Oyelowo discusses his faith, the film’s themes of forgiveness and hope and, his belief that no one is beyond redemption: http://www.premierchristianradio.com/Shows/Weekday/Inspirational-Breakfast/Episodes/Inspirational-Breakfast336 (interview segment = 1:12:50 to 1:25:24)
In my book, Rick Warren, Ashley Smith and David Oyelowo are all dream-achievers. For a long, long time, my heart’s desire was to be a professional, prolific and published writer.  I’m not sure why it took so long for me to take advantage of the blogging platform, which is here literally for the taking.
Although I cannot help but mourn over the valuable loss of time and potential opportunities, I am so glad I have finally taken the plunge. I’m moving myself into position to become a dream-achiever.
Is there a secret desire of your heart that you’ve been denying yourself? If so, what’s holding you back?