Be An OVERCOMER…….

Of what?

Of my bad habits? Of unhealthy relationships? Of financial chaos? Of a debilitating illness? Of sin in my life?

We say we want to be an “overcomer,” but we don’t want to experience anything so difficult that we have to overcome!!!

Easy to say…hard to do.

What does it mean to overcome anything? I can overcome my poor eating habits for a day or two…then it’s back to the Lay’s potato chip bag! My hand just goes into the bag without thinking? Is that the key? Think about the consequences; too much salt and oil!

Webster’s dictionary says….overcome: to get the better of; surmount difficulties; overpower; overwhelm; to gain the superiority; win.

I like that….win! But it’s not just winning a game or competition. IT’S A LIFE OR DEATH THING.

Jesus says “….in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

So, if we are believers in Christ and are becoming more like Him as we study His word so that we know Him, then we can overcome the world’s influence on us.

And, at the end of days WE WIN!

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” I John 4:4&5

And, the ultimate goal is….”He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” Revelation 3:5

“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and l will be his God and he shall be My son.” Revelation 21:7

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Yay….I win, and I am rich!!!

Repost from 10/1/2014

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What is your purpose?

These are not my own words. They were given to me to share with you…

“I created this world for you to enjoy and explore and not many people take advantage of it. They get stuck in their ways and get stuck in their job but that’s not what I created life for. You were created for much more. You were created to enjoy the life you are in, not to suffer from it. You are not living out your true calling and purpose if you feel like you are drowning. That’s when you need to turn to me and give me your burdens and your worries. They are not for you to carry. I will take them from you because I want you to enjoy life and not be miserable. Something must change if you are miserable, and hurting. I have the answer for you. I am the everlasting Father who loves you with an unconditional love. DO you know what that means? There is nothing you can do to win or lose my love. I love and will love you forever. You are my child. I created you and knit you together in your mother’s womb. You were made with a purpose. Now you need to live out that purpose and don’t waste it away. I made you for a reason. Do you know what that is?

GOD

And then I opened up my Jesus Calling…

“In order to hear My voice, you must release all your worries into My care. Entrust to Me everything that concerns you. This clears the way for you to seek My Face unhindered. Let Me free you from fear that is hiding deep inside you. Sit quietly in My presence, allowing My light to soak into you and drive out any darkness lodged within you.

“Accept each day just as it comes to you, remembering that I am sovereign over your life. Rejoice in this day that I have made, trusting that I am abundantly present in it. Instead of regretting or resenting the ways things are, thank Me in all circumstances. Trust Me and don’t be fearful; thank Me and rest in My sovereignty.”

God is good and He knows exactly what you need when you need it. He wants to give us the desires of our hearts and make us happy. He takes delight in us. He created you with purpose. Are you living out your purpose? Are you trying to find your purpose? Seek God and he will tell you and show you. You must be willing to take action.

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NEED JESUS IN YOUR BOAT?

Maybe you’ve heard the old idiom “I’m up a creek without a paddle!” exclaimed by someone who is in an awkward position with no way out. Or maybe you have even said “that doesn’t float my boat.”  Around here, at the retirement community, we often say to one another after hearing a familiar scenario, “we’re all in the same boat!!!”

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Well…….Jesus’ disciples had such a situation in a fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee (which is actually an inland lake……but storms can come up quickly from the coast through a break in the mountains named The Horns of Hattin).

Mark 4:35-41 NIV  “That day (after teaching a throng of people by the lake) Jesus said to His disciples ‘Let us go over to the other side.’  Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as He was, in the boat.  There were also other boats with Him.  A furious squall came up and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion, The disciples woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’  He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still !’  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to His disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?’  They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey Him!’ “

Are you troubled today with the storms of life?  Do you feel as though your boat is swamped and you’re sinking with no help in sight?

Believe me…..you are not alone.  JESUS IS IN YOUR BOAT!!!

Jesus speaks PEACE to those storms.  Ask Him…….trust Him.

The Heritage Singers have recorded a song entitled PEACESPEAKER that will give you encouragement.  Look it up on YouTube…..it will bless you!

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Just Keep Swimming

I think most of us have seen the movie “Finding Nemo” when the character Dori sings “just keep swimming, just keep swimming.” In the movie “Finding Dori” we learn why she sings that song. She is a small young fish and sings the song with her parents when she is learning how to swim and she continues to sing the song when she is facing her fears.

We all have fears that we must face. Whether we are a small fish, a child, or an adult, we all have fears. “If you don’t look at fear as your enemy it will one day defeat you” (Havilah Cunningham). You are either driven by fear, or overtaken by fear. What will it be for you? If you let fear defeat you, you will not grow or become the person God made you to be. You can either step forward into growth or step back into safety. What will it be for you?

There is a spirit of fear that wants to dominate everything in you. It is Satan’s way of stopping you from doing the powerful things God created you to do. Will you let him stop you? Will you let him win? What happens when you face fear? What if? What would you become? You will not know unless you do it, unless you take action. It will not be easy. Facing what you are afraid of is NOT easy, but you will never know who you could be or what life has for you if you don’t.

I was asked why I go on so many trips, and do so many activities and adventures. And my answer is this, there is so much on this earth to experience and so many places to go, why not try to do as much as possible?! I said yes to an 11 month Christian mission trip to 11 different countries. I was scared. I was afraid. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but I did it anyway and I am here to tell you I do not regret going one bit! I am so happy I was obedient to God. I grew in ways I would have never if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone and face my fears.

Our job is to be obedient and say yes to the opportunity in front of us even if it scares us. There is anointing that comes when you obey God. And when we obey the supernatural will happen. And I experienced just that. God gave me an anointing over my life and I experienced miracles, and went on many adventures.

I have run and finished a half marathon, completed a triathlon, hiked Half Dome in Yosemite, training now to hike Mount Whitney (the tallest peak in the continental America), went shark cage diving, laid with tigers, rode an elephant, went on a safari. I’m not saying this to brag of all the things I’ve done. This is a result of saying yes to an opportunity, facing fears and going for it. I accepted the challenge of training, of leaving the country for a year and in return I was able to do all this and more! 

Are you going to “just keep swimming” or are you going to let fear defeat you? It’s up to you.

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Slow to Anger

“STOP THAT! STOP BEING SO BAD!” she said as she smacked her child’s hand and grabbed him, continuing to pull him through the store aisle. He had been trying to grab a box of cereal from the shelf, like ALL kids do!

I must have seen that 5 times in my short grocery trip. Not one time did she stop what she was doing, look him in the eye and explain to him how she expected him to behave.

What a contrast with another Mom whose little girl did the exact same thing. The little girl grabbed something off the shelf, and with great poise and patience, her Mom put the package back on the shelf and stopped her cart. She knelt down and looked in her child’s eyes and said, “I know it’s so exciting to see things you like and it is tempting to grab them! But, when we shop I need you to keep your hands to yourself and be a good girl. Mommy loves you!” She ended with a hug and then they continued on her way.

That little girl held her head up high. She had been very gently reprimanded and she knew how much her Mommy loved her. By contrast the little boy who had been smacked and dragged through the store continued to grab things and never behaved properly. He pointed his eyes toward the floor and walked with a posture of anger and defeat.

Thankfully our God is like that second Mom! He is slow to anger and quick to forgive. He loves us and carefully and lovingly corrects us. He is patient and makes sure we know how much he cares for us. Imagine what life would be like if He were like that first Mom!

He wants us to be slow to anger and take time to process our circumstances before we act. I used to be much more of a “reactor” than a patient processor. With some time, usually the issue becomes much more manageable and seems less dramatic.

GraceYes, I am still perfecting this skill. The better I get at it, the less reparations I have to make in my relationships and the less stress I have to manage within myself. It is fabulous!

Let us all remember the great patience and love our Heavenly Father has for each and every one of us despite our glaring imperfections! And, let us pass this same grace on to others.

“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” Psalm 103:8 NIV

“For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.” Psalm 86:5 NASB

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HOW IMPORTANT IS ENCOURAGEMENT?

This is the 250th entry of our Life Words Today blog!

Amazing how time flies by!!! What started as an idea, a desire that I voiced to my sister, Tami, as we walked along the beach of Salisbury, Massachusetts, became a reality. She is a computer whiz…..I am not. So she began to do the research on how to set it up.

Here we are, still sharing our thoughts and words of encouragement to you, our faithful readers!

In the past I taught a class for women’s retreats entitled “Life Words vs Death Words.” It is to our disadvantage to speak death words – not only to others, but also to ourselves. The enemy of our souls wants us to think we are worthless and of no value. Then he can persuade us to turn our backs on God. He is a crafty one, and lying is his native language.

Sooooo…..the need for us frail humans to be encouraged is not only biblical, but a basic human need.

We have shared our individual struggles with you and included you in our personal thoughts and meditations. Hopefully you have been encouraged to “keep on keeping on” regardless of your circumstances.

Life is hard, and when you know someone else has experienced similar hardships and has gained strength and perspective from them, it lets you know you are not alone.

Although we have pulled out some of our Mother’s writings from the 80’s, we are also mother/daughter, mother/daughter, with experience ages of 28-74, and we all live in different areas of the United States.  We have shared with you diverse life experiences and views, but all with a biblical base and personal relationship with our Savior, Jesus Christ.

We take seriously the teaching of God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Prophets and Apostles who made sure we had the inspired scriptures to guide us through life. There is no greater “manual” for what to do or not do in life than the Holy Word of God.

Even if you have no one person to encourage you, read and re-read the 23rd Psalm!!!  Almighty God said He would never leave you. There are many scriptures that will encourage you on your life journey.  But, seek out a godly person to encourage you and pray with you.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift, so that you may be established….that is, that I may be encouraged together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” Romans 1:11-12

BE ENCOURAGED!

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Your Tribe

Back in February I joined the John Maxwell Team (JMT) to learn and grow in leadership and to become a certified coach and speaker. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up let alone have to funds to do it. However I knew I was taking a leap of faith and I deep down I knew God would catch me and provide.

 

Fast-forward 6 months and here I am a certified life coach and have met some incredible people along the way. I just got home from the JMT live event and I am blown away by the ways God showed up.

 

We were “randomly” placed at a table for the entire 3 days. I was placed at a table with 6 complete strangers from every walk of life and from all over the country and world! We represented California, New Jersey, Colorado, Oklahoma, Maryland, and the United Kingdom.

 

The first day with these strangers we had to give a 5 minute presentation. It could be on whatever topic we wanted but each of us told a piece of our stories, which gave us a better understanding of each other from the start. The main component for each of our stories was God. We connected on a spiritual level, which I know is now why we are like FAMILY!

 

By the end of the event we were praying together and created accountability for one another. Four of us took a leap of faith to bring ourselves and our businesses to the next level. We were in complete fear and very unsure about what to do, but we brought our concerns to the Lord together and had an encounter with God that brought us to tears and I believe closer as a group. We walked up to the counter together as a tribe and signed up for a mentorship program.

 

We are a tribe. We are committed to each other’s success.

 

This is not the only tribe I am apart of. I established another tribe when I went to a marketing conference in July. Each one of them loves the Lord and we hold each other accountable and support one another. The neat thing about each of these groups is that I could combine the two and everyone would get along and be on the same page. We are all after success, living a life for God, living out our calling, and helping others live out theirs. I love each of these groups dearly and they are not the only people I consider being my tribe.

 

Do you have a group of people who support you, drive you towards your potential and not your pain? Who will keep you accountable to do what you say you are going to do? Who will pray with you and for you?

 

Find your TRIBE. It takes setting out in faith, stepping out of your comfort zone and meeting people in places you would have never expected. It takes talking to strangers and being vulnerable. Step out in faith. God will catch you and bless you in ways you would have never imagined!

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I love you and I am so thankful for you Tribe 306!

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PERFECT STRENGTH

The long-anticipated Rio Summer Olympics are on TV right now. Since I had a little foot surgery a few days ago and have to keep my leg elevated, I am watching hours of swimming, gymnastics, volleyball, et cetera. I am always amazed at how far the human body can be pushed to its physical limits.

I have never been an athletic person like my daughter, sister and niece are, but I appreciate and marvel at what our bodies are capable of. The mental and physical strength it takes for some athletes to continue to break world records year after year is amazing to me!

All of this world-wide competition is great, and it is exciting to watch, but there is a strength offered to us by our Creator that goes beyond the physical. It is His strength that gets us through the daily hardship of living.

You may have experienced a difficult time in your life when you had to completely depend on the promises of God to get you through. And….there are many scriptures that promise the undergirding of our loving and compassionate God.

Paul writes that he does not boast in his strength but in God’s alone. II Corinthians 12: 7-10 “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, FOR MY STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distress, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

Then how do we become strong enough to run the race of our lives in order to win the best prize……eternal life with Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior?

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the WHOLE ARMOR OF GOD that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6

Please take time to read and re-read Ephesians 6 to give you the strength you need for each day! Don’t give up….keep on keeping on! God will give you the strength as you need it for each day.

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Creatures of HABIT

The power had been off for hours, yet every time I entered a room (carrying my flashlight) I still reached for the light switch. Whaaaa? 

Every time as I was walking through the darkness I would remind myself NOT to flip the switch. Yet 9 times out of 10 I still did it.  

A few weeks ago we had a major storm and a pole just a couple blocks up my street was struck by lightning and came down, power wires in the wet street and all. We had our power out for 4 days in humid 95 degree weather. July in the South! I can’t tell you how many times I tried to flip fans and lights on! By the third day I started to remember that flipping the light switch would NOT actually turn the light on. 

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I recently had my hot tub removed from behind my house. It sat right by my back door and I used it daily to set things on as I was working in the yard or whatever. It sat there for almost 13 years. After a couple weeks I still walk out the door and automatically reach out to the right as if I am going to set down whatever I am carrying. I’m slowly catching on. (HA!) 

Have you ever checked your mailbox on a holiday when you KNOW there is no mail delivery? You remind yourself as you drive home that there will be no mail…but somehow when you get there you drive or walk right up to that box and check?  

We do function on auto-pilot a lot. Habits can be a good thing because we don’t necessarily have to use our brain power to move through the motions of the day. However, habits, good or bad are very hard to change or break. Let us remember that our habits do not control us, but that we control our habits. So, good habits can be learned and bad habits unlearned.  

The American Journal of Psychology says that, “Old habits are hard to break and new habits are hard to form because the behavioral patterns we repeat are imprinted in our neural pathways, but it is possible to form new habits through repetition.” 

I have recently been focused on taking inventory of my daily habits. Are they working for me or against me? How much time am I wasting doing things that are inconsequential? Am I sitting too long at a time at my desk staring at a screen when I should be getting up to move every 20 to 30 minutes? Am I just being busy or am I moving toward my goals? Am I balancing work and play along with properly appropriating my time between myself, my family and my friends?  

All this can be tough to balance, but inventory of your routine can point out strengths and weaknesses. Some of the things we do “without thinking” can be very detrimental to our health, our wealth, and most importantly our relationships. How much time do we spend watching tv or Netflix? How much time do we spend playing games on our devices or on our social media caring about what other people are doing more than what is happening right in front of us? Do you know that a recent study shows that Americans touch their phones an average of 150 times per day? That means for many, it is a lot more. Much of that is necessary now that we do a lot of business and communication this way, but how much of it is wasted time? 

If you haven’t already, may I suggest that if you have an issue with a bad habit (or ten, lol) that you identify it (if more maybe take them one at a time) and begin to work daily to tackle it. Consciously take a hold of it and change it by repetition. Your innate capacity for habit forming will eventually kick in.  

It may be frustrating at first (I know this first-hand, ugh) but like that light switch that we flip when we walk into a room without even thinking, we will begin to form the habits that will help and not hinder us. We will be present and set our devices aside in lieu of the human company before us. We will eat more healthy choices. We will exercise, get more sleep, accomplish more.  

The better we control our habits, the more successful and effective we will be in life.  

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.” Romans 12:10-11

 

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JARS OF CLAY

There are times when a friend will make a mistake, and I say to them, “well, you’re just human after all,” and most every day I need to remind myself of that very fact!

The Word of God tells us that,  “The LORD God formed the man from dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

Also in Psalm 138:13 & 14: “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  

Since we have established from God’s Word that we are, each one, created by Him in such an individual and unique way, let us surrender our lives to our Creator  He knows us well and has a perfect plan for us.  I trust Him with my life….do you?

However God made you…and if you are a believer in His son Jesus…then you are a vessel, or jar of clay to be used by Him to spread the Gospel. That doesn’t mean you have to be a preacher or singer or even a writer or poet. What that means is that you let the Light of Christ shine from inside of you to a dark world by the way you live your life in front of others.

A Christian rock group that has been popular for many years even chose their name as…Jars of Clay!!!

Photo by Kristin Coke

Photo by Kristin Coke

In II Corinthians the 4th chapter the Apostle Paul is explaining to the Corinthians that he and his fellow ministers are just yielded vessels being used by God to spread the Gospel. In verse 7 he says, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

And what is “this treasure”?  Verse 6 gives the answer…“For God who said (at creation)    ‘Let light shine out of darkness’  made this light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.”

Wow! So we have His light in us to shine out to others…..but we are just frail humans made from dust…..actually jars of clay.  Don’t think of yourself greater than you should, but be a willing vessel for God to use.

Have you ever seen a potter at the wheel forming his work of art? That’s what God is to us. He made us…..as the potter makes jars of clay.  Let Him have His way in forming you to be what He wants you to be.  I guarantee…. you will be beautiful.

A beautiful, prayerful song is……

“Have Thine own way, LORD,  Have Thine own way.  Thou art the potter, I am the clay.  Mold me and make me after Thy will….while I am waiting yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, LORD,  Have Thine own way.  Hold o’er my being absolute sway.  Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see Christ only, always living in me.”

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