The ‘S’ Word

 

MY THINKING CORNER aims to share positive thoughts to encourage, inspire and motivate us on our journey in life and towards personal achievement and success.

Every Tuesday, Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha hosts a weekly challenge to share snippets of positive thoughts.  If you’d like to join in, please check out this link for further details.

 

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My Thinking Corner

(NB: Lady Cee aims to participate in this blog challenge on alternate Tuesdays)

 

 

Today, I’d like to focus our thoughts on the concept of SURRENDER.

Whenever I think of this word two images spring to mind.

 

  • A wrestling match where one wrestler has the upper hand and is mean, standing (even jumping) without mercy upon an area of his opponent’s anatomy and causing pain until said opponent cries out or signals “I surrender!”

 

  • A war situation where the battle is one-sided and a member of the losing side runs out hands in the air, or waving a white flag signalling complete surrender.

 

In today’s culture no one wants to surrender to another person. It speaks of weakness, or categorises us as losers and in some situations, it can even make us the victim.

However, the SURRENDER I wish to focus on today relates to our relationship with God, as purpose-driven believers and achievers. It is a surrender made because of love, not through fear. It is a surrender that completes us as children of God, rather than diminishes us as human beings.

The following are some thoughts gleaned from Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life.

Everybody eventually surrenders to something or to someone. If not to God, you will surrender to the opinions or expectations of others, to money, to resentment, to fear, or to your own pride, lusts or ego.

Rick Warren

 

So let’s turn now and examine this concept – what does surrender to our Father-God look like?

Trust:

Trust is an essential ingredient to surrender. You won’t surrender to God unless you trust him, but you can’t trust him until you know him better.

Rick Warren

How well do you know God? Are you seeking to know him better?

 

Understanding

Do you understand what true surrender is?

It is not passive resignation, an attitude of fatalism, or an excuse for being lazy.

It is not becoming a doormat or exhibiting cowardly behaviour.

It is not forsaking rational thinking.

 

Godly surrender is:

Our heartfelt response to God’s unconditional love and mercy.

Our sacrificial dedication of our lives in wholehearted worship and spiritual service.

Our yielding complete control of our lives into his care.

 

Warren tells us in no uncertain terms that:

…surrendering is never just a one-time event… There is a moment of surrender, and there is the practice of surrender, which is moment by moment and lifelong.

 

For Further Thought:

…the greatest hindrance to God’s blessing in your life is not others, it is yourself—your self-will, stubborn pride, and personal ambition. You cannot fulfil God’s purposes for your life while focusing on your own plans.

(Rick Warren)

Thoughts are free from toll – William Camden

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Did you enjoy reading this post? Why not share your response in the comment box below and consider sharing it with your social media network(s)?

My sincere thanks in anticipation!

 

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A Timely Reminder

Hello friends and followers,

During my travels in cyberspace this morning, I came across this wonderful post. I just had to share it. I do so for the benefit of two groups of people:

(1) those who may be seeking, who are curious, or who believe yet disbelieve, who sit on the fence because they want ‘proof’ and
(2) those who desire to live a purpose-driven life. Jesus has given us a clear commission and responsibility. We should not be afraid to share the good news of the gospel.

Thank you and have a blessed day. 😃💖

Simple Joys

This morning my Facebook notified me of my memories via ‘on this day‘ and amongst them was this post which I shared on my timeline. Now I don’t know if the story is true and, if it is, I don’t know whether the student really was Einstein, but what I do know is this; for someone who has been struggling with her beliefs recently (more on this later)this was a timely reminder of what it (faith) is all about for me.

THE POST (from 2012)

Professor : You are a Christian, aren’t you, son ?

Student : Yes, sir.

Professor: So, you believe in GOD ?

Student : Absolutely, sir.

Professor : Is GOD good ?

Student : Sure.

Professor: Is GOD all powerful ?

Student : Yes.

Professor: My brother died of cancer even though he prayed to GOD to heal him. Most of us would…

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What Will be Your Legacy?

 

 

We are all familiar with the saying “Time waits for no man”. And maybe, like me, when you look back over your life you can see periods of time that were squandered. Those times have gone. We can never bring them back and there’s no point in us dwelling in the land of regret.

We can only thank our Father God for each new day he allows us to awake, knowing that each day presents a fresh opportunity to live purposefully, to honour Him—not just with our lips but also with our lifestyle.

Most ambitious people, or productive individuals will want to see their efforts and achievements extend beyond their own lives. Their desire is to leave a lasting legacy.

Today, we celebrate artists like Rembrandt and Renoir, writers such as Shakespeare and geniuses such as Einstein, who have left us a rich legacy we can still appreciate and enjoy today. They left an earthly legacy. So, it is perhaps not surprising if we feel that leaving a legacy for others to enjoy after we have gone, is the ultimate in achievement.

However, Rick Warren, advises us otherwise. He believes:

Living to create an earthly legacy is a short-sighted goal. A wiser use of time is to build an eternal legacy.

Rick Warren

When my mother died last year, she left a wonderful legacy behind her. Her life was the epitome of selfless sacrifice. She faithfully served God, her family, the members of her church. Her example inspired and continues to inspire me and I have a great desire to emulate her.

I saw my mother’s commitment and exemplary life as a wonderful legacy—to her children and to her brothers and sisters in Christ. I initially saw her legacy as earth-bound. However, my mother did not only leave behind an earthly legacy. She also built an eternal one. I have no doubt in my mind that the Lord Jesus welcomed her into his kingdom as a faithful and profitable servant.

Warren’s statement has re-aligned my aspirations and re-focused my perspective. Yes, I love the idea of leaving an earthly legacy. However, I see the wisdom of building an eternal legacy. Whilst my ego and self-pride desires to be remembered on this earth, I am now more concerned that I’m known and remembered in heaven.

The Bible tells us that God knows those who are his. And in a recent guest post I warned readers there will be people who mistakenly believe Jesus recognises them as his followers. Alas they were wrong! Jesus dismisses them in no uncertain tones, saying depart from me I do not know you!

Again, the Bible tells us about a Book of Remembrance (Malachi 3:16) and about a Lamb’s book of Life (Revelation 3:5). Now I want to feature in that Book of Remembrance. I want my name to be written in that Lamb’s Book of Life.

Purpose-driven believers and dream-achievers, whilst striving to fulfil our goals, or pursue our destiny, let’s make sure our efforts contribute towards an eternal legacy.

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What on earth are you doing with your life?

 

 

 

Ever wondered why you are alive? Why you were put here on this earth? What your purpose is in life? What the meaning of life is period?

These are big questions. Questions that men throughout the ages have sought to answer. Philosophers. Sages. Atheists. Scientists. Intellectuals. Ordinary men and women.

Deep down in our hearts we sense there is a reason, a purpose for our existence. And whilst some will search, speculate and put forward reasoned hypotheses, others will shrug and be satisfied with existing, with going from day-to-day just allowing life to happen to them, or seeking to bleed life dry of whatever advantages, or benefits, or opportunities they can grasp without thought or care for others around them, without thought or preparation for what lies beyond death.

And then there are those of us who realise we are created for a purpose, have been placed on earth for a specific reason and will never rest content until we both discover and fulfil that destiny.

Whichever category of people you belong to at this present time, I believe Rick Warren’s book can speak to you, offer answers and provide a practical guide to discovering and living according to your pre-ordained purpose.

Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, takes you on a guided 40-day spiritual journey. If you are unsure of your purpose in life, if you are curious about the reason for your existence on earth, if deep down you feel that niggle of dissatisfaction about your own philosophy in life, or are willing to admit that there is a troublesome vacuum in your life, and you are open to discovering, exploring and perhaps subscribing to a spiritual concept which:

  • reveals who can fill that vacuum
  • guides you towards a purpose-driven life and
  • offers a blueprint for a God-oriented, successful lifestyle

then I recommend you read this book with an open mind and heart.

Dear reader – don’t delay!

Don’t push the idea, or this invitation away!

Come explore with an open mind

Who know what truths, what discoveries, what spiritual riches you will find?

Purpose-driven believers, dream-achievers, and any sceptics reading this post, I pray God will speak to you wherever you are at right now in your life, that he will draw you with his cords of love into a new revelation and knowledge of his being, into the fullness of his purpose and perfect will for your life.

 

Attention – Seekers, Searchers and Sceptics

 

Hello dear reader, dear precious visitor.

Thank you for taking the time to visit me in my corner of this vast realm in cyberspace. You are so welcome!

Whenever I write and publish a post, my heart’s desire is that my words, my message will strike a chord deep within the hearts of my readers. I write, yes to fulfil my artistic leanings, my creative passion. But I also write with a desire to influence, to inform and to inspire.

Today’s post is a message to those among you who may hold views contrary to my own, as a born-again Christian. Today, I am writing for the attention of the atheist. The agnostic. The “free spirit”. The non-religious. Even the religious extremist. I write for the attention of those who may be seeking and searching for the meaning of life, for those who may be wondering about the purpose of their existence.

Dear seekers, searchers, or spiritual wanderers there’s no need to wonder, or wander around clueless anymore. Whenever God wants to reveal or fulfil his will, he uses a human being to speak or to act. This is why he sent Jesus to this earth. And this is why he uses sanctified men and women to speak as his oracle.

Now in this current age, we are blessed to have access to so many resources, including the Bible (God’s inspired Word), through which the God of all gods may communicate. And from amongst this plethora of Christian resources, is one which I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending.

It has been described as a blueprint for 21st Century Christian living. And it is the book which has inspired both this blog, and my fervent desire to live a life that is purposeful, successful and brings honour to the God who created me.

Having reached Day 39 of my 40-day spiritual journey within the pages of this excellent book, I am again convinced that it is a resource which has the power to enlighten the hearts of both believers and non-believers. I am convinced it is a valuable and necessary manual for leading a satisfying and successful spiritual life.

Now if you would open your mind and heart and earnestly embrace the thoughts and truths of this spiritual resource—The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren—I believe my Father God (whom you may have dismissed as a figment of fanciful imagination, or consider to be an impossible ogre, opposed to, or indifferent to your concerns and welfare), will reveal himself to you.

I believe the authentic supernatural experience for which some of you yearn, will be yours—simply by the believing, the asking and the grasping. I believe the principles for raising your life from a mundane existence to a phenomenal plane, if adopted and acted upon, will bring you success and significance.

Dear reader, practically every day you make a choice on the recommendation of a critic, friend, writer or reviewer. Since daily you allow yourself to be influenced by people whom you may not know, people who may be directing you from a certain bias, or with a personal agenda, then today, I’m challenging you to make a choice on the basis of my personal recommendation.

Take that step today. Either beg, borrow or purchase a copy of this brilliant book. Or visit http://purposedriven.com/ to learn more about the concept of pursuing a purpose-driven lifestyle.

What do you have to lose?

Dear reader, making this choice could be the difference between life and death. Spiritual life. Spiritual death.

So choose life!

 

Speculation? Or Revelation?

 

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Success.

Everybody, (including myself), strives for this on some level and, in a bid to arrive at the place which we have determined as our marker of success, we set goals or make plans etc. Success on my terms however, or according to the world’s standards, is not the same as fulfilling my life’s purpose.

According to Rick Warren, if I want to discover the purpose which God has ordained for my life, I have two options: speculation or revelation. Revelation (divine revelation that is) requires a personal relationship with God, a knowledge of his nature, his thoughts, his ways and his will.

The onus is upon me to discover what my purpose is. And the only way to discover that purpose is through an intimate acquaintance with God. That means spending time in his Word, communicating with him in prayer, walking that pathway of obedience.

Purpose-driven believer and dream achiever, if you don’t already know the purpose of God for your life, you need to ask Him. And if you do already know your purpose, you need to ask God to help you execute it according to His will. Moses knew he was to be the Children of Israel’s deliverer but zeal, lack of wisdom and acting outside of God’s intent and time-frame, led him to commit murder!

Jeremiah 29:11-13 tells us:

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.

 

Does it not make sense then for us to ask our Father God what those plans are? Does it not make sense for us to put ourselves in that place where God can speak to us, where we can hear what he is saying and we are willing to follow his directions?

 

PRAYER:

Father God, thank you for your plans and thoughts for our lives. Open the eyes of our understanding. Give us ears that are attuned to your voice. Influence our hearts, to both discern and promptly obey your will. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

 

Pursuing Your Purpose

 

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SELF-SCRUTINY:

Do you know your life’s purpose?

Are you aware that your identity, significance and destiny can only be discovered in God—since He is your Creator?

Are you pursuing His purpose for your life?

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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.

 

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?