Thursday, January 26, 2012

What Does God Think about You?

Have you ever wondered what God thinks about you?  I read something this week and the writer commented that “he felt he was God’s biggest disappointment”.

Some people go along in life holding onto these concepts of what God thinks about them.

--“I am a loser who will never win.”
   --“I am his worst drunk.”
      --“I am the biggest misfit in this world.”
      --“I’m an accident waiting to happen.”
   --“He doesn’t like me very much.”
--“I’m a ‘has-been’.  I’m no longer useful"

If you’ve ever had thoughts like these, then I want to throw you a lifeline.  I can’t ever imagine God holding any of these thoughts about any person.

And that means you.

In some of the reading I’ve been doing lately, the following thoughts and concepts rise far above all other negative and hurtful thoughts anyone may level against you, or even what your own mind repeats back to you. 

<Think on these things for a while>

God loves you just the way you are. 

He is seeking for a dozen ways 
to bring you to him.

He not only loves you, he likes you a lot.

God is very fond of you.

Even if you take one darting glance back toward God, 
he is already opening his arms wide 
to receive you back.  
Just run to him. 

So what does God say to you?  How does he respond when you feel you are at your worst?

God says …
“You are my chosen one.”

“You are mine.”

“I want to redeem you.”

“I want you close
so you can hear
my heartbeat. “

“I forgive you.”

“I’m seeking you for you
 at every turn.”

“I will never leave you
  nor forsake you.”

“Find solace in my
arms of grace.”

“You matter to me.”

“You are a significant  
  person in my kingdom.”

“You have a future with hope,"

“You are somebody.”

Now, stand up, hold your head up high and re-establish your place in the calm, loving, forgiving heart of God.

Become the person He planned for you to become. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Living without Regret

I have a speech that I give to civic groups called Living without Regret.  In it I share this thought. 

“Most elderly people, when they come to the end of their lives and are asked “if you could do it all over again, what would you do differently, they respond, “I would have taken more chances.” 

I love that. 

Dawna Markova says it clearly in her poem. 
I Will Not Die an Unlived Life.

I will not die an unlived life. 
I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. 
I choose to inhabit my days,
To allow my living to open me,
To make me less afraid, more accessible,
to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.

I choose to risk my significance;
to live so that that which came to me as a seed
goes to the next as a blossom
And that which came to me as a blossom,
goes on as fruit.
Dawna Markova

Don’t die with your music still in you. 

There once was a master violin virtuoso who had to sell his expertly crafted violin.  After selling it to the pawnshop he vowed to one day buy back that very violin. 

Time passed.

He saved his money until one day he went to that pawn shop to purchase back his violin only to find that it has been sold to a collector to be placed in a shadowbox and hung on a wall.

The virtuoso paid a visit to this collector and pleaded with him to sell him back his violin.  The collector refused.  In desperation, the violin virtuoso asked if he could at least play his violin one last time before it became a part of this man’s collection, never to produce another note.

The collector agreed. 

The virtuoso tuned the strings and played a lovely melody.  As the sounds of this instrument filled the room, the collector’s heart was softened and he agreed to sell the violin to the master musician.  How could he deprive the world of the lovely sounds being produced from this finely crafted instrument?  He could not let this violin sit in silence. 

Don’t you sit in silence. 

Don’t let the world pass you by. 

Live your life without regrets. 
-Write your books.
     -Sing your songs
          -Build your dreams.
               -Start your company.
                    -Launch that enterprise.
              -Make that widget.
          -Go on that cruise.
     -Take that trip.
-Write that play.

Get your music out.

Go and live your life without regret.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Faith Does Not Come with a Guarantee

When we have the privilege of staying in a hotel somewhere, one habit of mine is to leave a light on in the bathroom so we can find our way in the dark.  I know my way here at home, but in a strange place, I need light. 

All my life, I’ve heard dozens and hundreds of sermons on faith. 
     Have faith
          Test your faith
               Stretch your faith
                    Grow up in faith

Recently, the thought came to me that faith is not lived in the light.  It’s learned and lived in the dark. 

Think about this: 

Faith does not come with a guarantee.

Wow!  That puts things into perspective.

The whole concept of faith is trust. 

And faith, I might add, is not just for people in the church.  Every day of our lives we demonstrate faith in varying degrees. 

Driving on any freeway in the world is an act of faith.

We ate at one of our favorite restaurants recently and Carolyn got a touch of food poisoning.  We had faith in that restaurant, yet

Living a life of faith is not lived in the light.  It’s lived in the dark. 

That is the beauty of faith, I think. 

We understand that faith is discovered in darkness over and over again, and we learn to trust the darkness. 

Trusting the darkness.  That is huge. 

Faith means
Not seeing where the money comes from, yet it arrives
Not seeing the next step to take, but taking that step anyway

Not seeing the job needed yet discovering odd jobs that bring in the money

Not seeing the improved behavior but trusting that it shows up soon

Not seeing love expressed yet knowing it is there.

Living life is an act of faith every day.

There are no guarantees in faith.

Just trust.

Scary isn’t it?

Yes it is. 

But with time, we embrace faith; we embrace the unknown, in all of the varied experiences of our lives.

Faith with Guarantees?

No such thing.

               Just faith. 

                              And so we go boldly forward.

I Believe
I believe in the sun, even though it doesn’t shine.
I believe in love, even when it isn’t shown.
I believe in God, even when he doesn’t speak.
(Written by eyes that chose to see the unseen.)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Choose Your Color

If you won a million dollars in the lottery, what color would you use to color your life?

If you were injured in a tragic auto accident and came out crippled, what color would you use?

Someone once said, “Suffering colors all of life, doesn’t it?

Yes,” came back the response, “but I get to choose the color.”


I love that!

The word we are dancing around is “Attitude.”  It’s not the circumstances in which we find ourselves in life that matters most.  It is our “ATTITUDE” in the midst of those circumstances.

We get to choose the color during our disappointing moments.

During my lifetime I’ve faced stuff that was hard, lonely, and difficult to understand.  .  No one likes going through those times, however, if we can come out on the other side with insight and perspective, then perhaps we can appreciate the “valley of heartache” for what it was.

But mostly, we can choose the colors with which to paint the valley walls.

In December of 1980, I awakened one morning and discovered that a third of my back yard had washed down the ravine behind my home.  At first, I wanted to go to bed, cover my head and never come out again. 

I was worried, and I experienced periods of depression and despondence.  But soon a level head and an optimistic heart prevailed and I began seeing the small steps that could be taken to lead to the larger decisions toward a remedy.

Here is a formula I found helpful:

1.       Process the situation.  What has happened?  Did I cause it?  How serious is it? 
2.      Accept what has happened as fact.  You can’t change what has already come to pass.
3.      Act!  What can I do today to help?  Ask for help.  Find a remedy.  Begin the steps of rebuilding and recovery. 
4.      And above all, CHOOSE a good color with which to paint this experience.  If you are still standing then it is not the end of the world.  Color it as bright as you can allow yourself. 

Maintain an attitude of “we’ll get through this.”  “This too shall pass.” 


In a word, NO!

However …


In time the situation got resolved.

Life happens.

Color it … WISELY!

Henley captures it perfectly. 
It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishment the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul. 
William Ernest Henley