Sunday, March 29, 2009

You Must Open Up

Open your heart and mind to be aware...when you do not open up, you set yourself up to blow up.

Keeping things inside does not make them any better. In fact, holding on to secret fears and secret feelings makes them seem a lot worse than they probably are. When you keep things on the inside, the weight of it all can tear you up, hold you down, push you into situations that do not serve your best interests. Holding on to things can cause all sorts of disease, chemical and emotional imbalance, complete confusion and plain old despair.

When you have a lot going on inside, you must find some way to let it out. You can talk about it. You might cry about it. If you are alone, you can shout about it. You can call a help line, a hotline or a prayer line, but you must let someone know what is going on inside of you. It is tempting to eat about it, drink about it or blow it up in smoke. A better strategy is to write about it.

Each of us comes to the point when we must trust someone enough to open ourselves up for review and examination. It's not always easy! It is a challenge to admit or acknowledge your own faults. It is even more difficult to accept that we have made some costly mistakes, poor decisions and bad choices. For some reason it seems that we don't want people to know that we are human. But we are. We cannot hide what we feel forever. It is essential to our sense of well-being that we find a way to open up and let someone know what is going on inside.

Until today, you may have been holding on to secret thoughts and feelings. You may have been afraid to open yourself to self-examination or outside scrutiny. Just for today, be willing to release those things stored in your heart and mind that are causing you discomfort.

I'm Free - Unknown Author

Don't grieve for me, for now I'm free,
I'm following the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call.
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I found that peace at the close of the day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
Ah yes, these things I too will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life's been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
Don't lengthen it now with undue grief,
Lift up your hearts and share with me.
God wanted me now,
He set me free.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Where the Spirit Is - Joel Osteen - 3/27/09

When you make Jesus the Lord of your life, something supernatural takes place on the inside of you. The Spirit of God actually makes His home in your heart. And the Bible tells us that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom! When you allow that truth to sink into your mind and heart, when you get into agreement with God and begin to declare that you are free, then you will see that freedom manifest in every area of your life.

God will begin to turn around situations that you've been praying about for years. He'll restore relationships that you thought were impossible. He'll bring health and wholeness back into your body. Those dreams, those promises that are on the inside of you, they may look too big, but God will set you free to pursue those dreams. He'll set you up to overcome every obstacle. He'll empower you to defeat every enemy so that you can move forward in freedom and victory in every area of your life!

His Call Remains - Joel Osteen - 3/24/09

What is the vision that you have for your future? Maybe at one time you were excited about your life -- you had big goals, big dreams, but you went through some disappointments or life didn't turn out the way you planned and now you've just settled where you are. But understand, God's plan for your life didn't go away just because you had some disappointments, setbacks, or because somebody treated you unfairly. God didn't write you off just because you made some poor decisions. No, He knew every mistake you'd ever make; He knew every person who would wrong you, and He still called you. He still designed a perfect plan for your life. No matter what's happened in your past, God's plan for your good remains. He still has a bright future in store for you. If you will get your hopes back and get your vision in line with God's Word, then the rest of your life will be the best of your life! Keep standing, keep believing, and get a vision for your future because the Lord has an amazing future in store for you!

His Hand is Outstretched - Joel Osteen - 3/23/09

As believers, you and I have an advantage. We don't have to go through life just depending on our own talent, our own ability, our own strength. The Scripture talks about how God's hand is outstretched toward His people. That means there is a supernatural power behind every believer. God's outstretched hand will help you accomplish dreams that you thought were impossible. His outstretched hand will cause you to get well even when the medical report says there is no way. The outstretched hand of God will help us to prosper even when the economy is down.

Let this sink into your heart today. All through the day, imagine God's hand outstretched toward you. It is a hand of healing, a hand of favor, a hand of restoration. No matter what you may be facing, you have to realize there is a force for you that is greater than any force that will ever be against you. You're attitude should be, "I am not settling where I am. I know I have an advantage. As a child of the Most High, I know God's hand is outstretched toward me."

Take Your Medicine - Joel Osteen - 3/2/09

So many people today live with sickness, headaches, digestive problems, lack of energy and so much more because they don't have the joy they should. They aren't sleeping well at night and are living under so much stress and pressure. But the Bible tells us that when we are happy and joyful, it's like medicine to our bodies. One of the greatest stress relievers God has given us is the gift of laughter. It not only makes you feel better, but it actually releases healing throughout your system. In fact, medical science tells us that when people laugh, it boosts their immune system. It reduces blood pressure. People who laugh regularly are 40% less likely to have a heart attack than people that don't laugh regularly. Laughter triggers the right side of the brain, which helps release creativity so we can make better decisions. Laughter activates the body's natural tranquilizers that not only help us calm down, but it helps us sleep better.

If you need to rejuvenate your mind and body, it's time to take your medicine! Make time to laugh every single day. Don't take yourself so seriously. When you approach life with a happy, light-hearted attitude, you'll begin to rise higher and higher into the life of health and blessing the Lord has in store for you.

He Makes All Things New - Joel Osteen - 2/25/09

When God puts a dream in your heart, when He puts a promise on the inside, He deposits within you everything you need to accomplish that dream. He wouldn't give you the desire to do something without giving you the ability to fulfill it. In fact, the scripture tells us that God gives us the desires of our heart. In other words, He puts the desire inside of us and then works with us to bring it to pass.

Oftentimes, people set out to accomplish their dreams, but they face a setback or disappointment, and then they feel like their time has passed. But let me tell you today, no matter where you've come from, no matter what's happened in your past, God wants to make you new. He wants to give you a "do over," a fresh start. If you feel like you've missed opportunities in your life, if you feel like your time has passed, remember, today is a new day. You are a new person, and God has new opportunities in store for you. If one dream has died, it's time to dream a new dream.

Making Plans to Succeed - Joel Osteen - 10/24/08

Success is intentional, not accidental. You may not know what steps to take right now in life to accomplish what God has put in your heart, but God knows the plan, and if you'll do your part to seek Him and begin to make plans to succeed, God will guide you. It says in the scriptures, "The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." You don't have to vaguely go through life. God wants to direct your steps. He wants to show you His plan.

Decide today to make plans to succeed. Write down your goals. Make time to evaluate where you are in life. Evaluate your finances, your career, your relationships. Don't go another week without having a plan for your future. Evaluate how you're spending your time and money. If you'll go beyond dreaming, and start making plans to succeed, God promises He's going to direct your steps and He will lead you down the path of His favor.

Don't Lose Your Joy - Joel Osteen - 9/19/08

Every day there are opportunities in life to get upset and lose your joy and peace. There are many things that can steal your joy - people, traffic, disappointments. But if you are going to live in victory you have to choose the right approach to life. It's good to have plans, but submit your plans to God and decide in advance to stay in peace no matter what happens.

The Scripture says, "No man can take your joy." That means no person can make you be unhappy. No circumstance can force you to get upset. It's totally up to you. You have complete control of how peaceful and happy you want to live. When those inconveniences come, when your plans don't work out or when somebody irritates you, you can decide, "I am not going to get upset. I am not going to lose my joy. I have the power to stay in peace." Jesus put it this way in John 14:27, "Stop allowing yourself to be upset and disturbed." Notice it's a decision you have to make. Decide today to keep your joy and peace.

Change your approach and believe that God is directing your steps. Believe that you are exactly where you're supposed to be. As you do, you'll keep your joy and you will experience God's blessing, and favor, and live the life of victory He has in store!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Listen to People

We are taught that communication is a two-way process. Consequently, we are not aware that there are three essential elements. There is talking, there is listening and there is hearing. We talk a great deal because we have much to say. In fact, we talk so much we often miss the point someone else is trying to make. Our talk about our past experience is loaded with perceptions and judgments. When we are listening, what we hear gets filtered through the same. We do talk, and we can listen. What challenges most of is is learning how to hear.

If you really want to hear someone when they trust you enough to talk to you, don't listen to the words, hear how the words are spoken. All too often, we cannot hear the words because we come to the conversation with our own ideas about who people are. At the same time, we are determined not to let them see who we are. In order for effective and value communication to occur, you must believe that you are safe, and you must offer that same safety to the other person.

If you want to communicate with another person, you must hear their fear and not dismiss it. You must hear a person's pain and not overlook it. It is important to hear a person's guilt and not buy into it. You must be ready to hear a person's anger and not fuel it. Most people need to know that they have been heard. Listen to their body. Listen to their eyes. Listen to colors they are wearing, the way they touch their hair. Listen to the volume. Listen to the tempo. If you really want to hear someone, open your heart and listen to their soul.

Until today, you may not have been able to hear what people are saying to you. Just for today, close your eyes when you are in a conversation. Hear every word that is spoken through the center of your heart. Open your heart and mind to be aware....when you are listening to yourself, you cannot hear other people.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Be True to You

Open your heart and mind to be have allowed what others believe about you to become what you believe about yourself.

If you tell yourself something long enough, you will believe it. If you fail to take the time to question why you do what you do, you can become convinced that you cannot do anything else. Other people will help you stay convinced. People are in the habit of telling other people who they are. They tell you who they expect you to be, who they need you to be and who they want you to be. If you listen to people about who you are, you may realize you cannot be yourself because you have been somebody else for so long!

How can you be yourself and still please your parents? How can you be yourself and meet the demands of the world around you? How much of what you do is what is expected of you? How can you figure out how much of you is them? Well, needless to say, it ain't easy! But there is a way.

When you can be happy with yourself and what you do without feeling guilty about it, your parents will be pleased. When you negotiate the salary you believe you are worthy of having, you will be excited about going to work. When you are willing to accept yourself without believing that you have to be right all of the time, everybody will want to marry you. When you open your heart and allow people to see you exactly as you are, you will attract more friends than you will know what to do with. If on the other hand, you are defending the reason, holding on to the excuses, offering explanations for why you are the way you are, you may never know the truth of your being.

Until today, you may not have been aware of your true identity. You may have accepted the expectations of others as the fabric of your being. Just for today, stand in your true identity without guilt, defenses or apologies.

Monday, March 16, 2009


If you think about it, you would become aware that credentialization, certification, authorization and validation share a common definition. Each is a process in which someone else tells you how good you are or are not. There are areas in which people must be well trained and equipped to handle the demands of their craft. However, there are also judgments attached to the words "credential," "certificate," "authority" and "validity." These judgments have a subtle impact on the human psyche. The implication is that something outside of you can make you okay.

You may think that because you don't have the credential or the certificate, you do not have the authority to be. Perhaps because you are afraid of not making the grade, not being okay in the eyes of someone else, you have convinced yourself that you are not okay. What no one apart from yourself is going to tell you or convince you is that, with the power of a made-up mind, you are authorized to do anything you choose.

There is nothing more validating than belief in yourself and your abilities. If you believe you have the power, the power is yours. There is no credential, certificate or authority beyond the power of a made-up mind. There comes a moment when you must decide that you are going to believe in yourself. When that moment comes, you become aware that outside authority is the icing. You mind is the cake!

Until today, you may have been waiting for someone to tell you something or give you something that would make you feel okay. Just for today, accept that there is a place in you where you are just fine. Make it your business today to tap in to that place.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Let Go and Let God

There is a difference between a goal and an obsession. There is also a difference between being responsible and being compulsive. Many people are obsessive doers. They have so much to do, that the very qualities that drive them toward success are the qualities that create their tension and frustration.

It is true that anything you desire to have in life, you must work for. The question is, do you have to work so hard? Must you always have something to do? Is it possible that you could ease up just a little? Most people would say no. Very few of us understand that for every step we take toward our desires, the Universe will take two. If we have to do it all on our own, there is absolutely nothing left for God to do for us.

One reason we work so hard is that we are afraid. Few people will admit it, but most of us live in fear that we are not going to achieve our goals, receive the results we expect or fulfill our heartfelt desires. It is this fear that causes us to engage in a power struggle with God. If you really believe that you have to do it all, what do you think God is doing or can do for you?

Strain, struggle, frustration, tension, anxiety, compulsion, obsession and fear are the results you get when you are pushing too hard. God, the creative force of the universe, the power over all life, doesn't have to push to get you what you want. As a matter of fact, if you would just ease up a little, you might be surprised by what God will do on your behalf.

Until today, you may not have been aware that you can do too much. In fact, you may have been a stumbling block on your own path. Just for today, ease up! Relax! Sit back and put your feet up! Give God a chance to do something for you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Stay Passionate About Life

If you want to become a better you, it is imperative that you appreciate the good things that God has done for you. We should get up every day with enthusiasm, excited about that day. We should be grateful that we're alive, grateful for the opportunities in front of us, grateful for the people in our lives.

Quit looking at what's wrong in your life and start being grateful for what's right in your life. Your attitude should be: "I am not going to live my life defeated and depressed. My dreams may not have come to pass yet; I may have some obstacles in my path, but I know God is still in control, I know He's got great things in store for me, so I'm going to get up each day excited about my life."

Everything may not be perfect in your life, but if you don't learn to be happy where you are, you will never get to where you want to be. You may not have the perfect job, but you should thank God that at least you are employed. Some people would love to have your job. Fan your flame and go to work with a new enthusiasm. Don't drag into the workplace with a long face and then waste half the day playing on the Internet. Instead, give your employer 100 percent. Do your work with all your heart, to the best of your ability. Stay passionate about it. Everybody else may be slacking off; everybody else may have a sour attitude. But you are not everybody else; you are a child of the Most High God. Don't be part of the problem; be part of the solution.

Enthusiasm is contagious. If you go into your workplace with a smile on your face, full of life, full of joy, full of victory, before long, you'll rub off on others. That whole place will come up to a higher level, thanks to you.

It dishonors God for us to go around complaining and thinking about everything that's wrong in our lives. You may not be living in your dream house, but you should thank God you have a roof over your head. Thank God you're not homeless, living out there in the elements.

We need to recognize that every day is a gift from God. What a shame to live any day in a negative and defeated mind-set.

You don't have to do anything; you get to do it. God is the One who has given you breath. Don't do things out of obligation or because you have to--do them with an attitude of gratitude.

If you really want to experience God's best, you need to be more than obedient; you have to be willing. You have to do it with the right attitude.

When you do the right thing with the right motives, there's no limit to what God will do in your life. It is important that we get beyond mere obedience. That's easy, anybody can do that. To become a better you, take the next step and be willing to do the right thing with a good attitude.

It's so easy to get focused on what's wrong and to take for granted what's right, what is going well. When you focus on the good, that's when you bolster your enthusiasm and passion.

We attract what we continually think about.

An important key to fanning your passion is to keep fresh goals before you. Some people have lost their passion for life simply because they're not pursuing anything. But understand that God created us to be always reaching for something beyond where we are presently. If you will continue to pursue a new goal, it will keep you fresh and excited about life. Always be growing and never allow yourself to become complacent. After you accomplish one goal, immediately set another. Keep moving; keep looking for new challenges.

Sometimes we get in such a hurry that we miss the miracles all along the way. Miracles are all around us. The people in our life, the doors God has opened, the things that have happened along the way are not by accident. It was God's favor that caused you to be at the right place at the right time. God was directing your steps, so don't take it for granted.

We need to realize that this day is unique and irreplacable. We need to make the most of it, and live like it could be our last. Friend, this day is a gift, so make the most of it. Shake off anything that hints of self-pity or discouragement and find some reason to be grateful. Becoming a better you is all in how you choose to view life.

No matter what twists and turns life takes, you can find the good if you look for it. If we have the right attitude, we can see the sun shining even when it's cloudy. We can stay full of joy and keep getting better, even when things don't go our way.

My prayer is that God would give us a spirit of gratitude, that we'd always focus on the good and never take life for granted. If you will trust God each day and live according to His plan for your life, you will be happier, healthier, and you'll rise higher than you ever imagined possible.

Make a decision that you're going to live every day with enthusiasm. Get up each morning and think about all the things for which you can be grateful. If you need to, make a list. Keep it in front of you and then go out each day pursuing your God-given dreams.

From Believing to Expecting

I hope that by now you are making preparations for the good things God has in store for you. God has put dreams and desires in every one of our hearts. We all have promises that we're standing on, things that we believe will come to pass. But almost always there's a time of waiting involved.

Much of life is spent waiting. There's a right way to wait and a wrong way. Too often when things don't happen on our timetable we get down and discouraged. Even though we have the promise in our heart, we give up and settle for the status quo. I believe it's because we're not waiting the right way. We have to wait with expectancy.

To wait with expectancy means that we are hopeful and positive. We get up every morning expecting good things. We may have problems, but we know this could be the day God turns it around. This could be the day I get the break that I need.

Waiting should not be a passive thing. Waiting the correct way means you are on the lookout. You talk as if what you believe is going to happen. You act as though it's going to happen. You are making preparations.

If you can just get up every morning expecting God to turn your problems around for good, if you can stay positive and hopeful, then God promises He will give you a supernatural strength that will cause you to soar like the eagles.

Remember, though, you need to put some actions behind your prayers. You may already be praying and believing; that's good. But don't stop there; keep pressing in closer to God. Move deeper to not only believing God can do something in your life, but expecting that God will do great things in, for, and through you.

When you have a dream in your heart, you'll see things that other people don't see.

A lot of times, we are waiting for God to do something. But we must do our part by making preparations. Do some research, sow some seeds, and then stay expectant. Even if it doesn't turn out the way you had hoped, you'll still be better off to live your life positively and hopeful.

Many people are waiting for their situation to change, and while they're waiting to get the break they need, they get all sour. You need to turn the situation over to God. Start making preparations to live a blessed life. Keep your vision in front of you and don't believe the "never" lies.

You cannot let one set-back or even a series of disappointments keep you from pressing forward and believing for God's best.

God rewards people who keep the vision in front of them. Stay determined.

Stretch your faith. Put some actions behind what you are believing God to do for you. Maybe you've just about given up on what God has put in your heart. You think your life is never going to get any better. It can, but you must rekindle that fire.

When we stay in faith, positive, expectant, and hopeful, then all the forces of darkness cannot keep God from bringing those promises to pass.

How are you waiting for the good things of God? Learn to wait with expectancy. Get up every morning and water your seeds by thanking God that the answer is on the way. Then take it one step further and start making preparations for the dreams God has planted in your heart. Talk like it's going to happen, act like it's going to happen. Keep the right attitude. If you will go from believing to expecting, God promises that in due season, at the right time, He will bring you the desires of your heart.

Keep Singing Your Song

One of the secrets to becoming a better you is to keep singing the song that God has put in your heart. Too many people go around negative and discouraged, allowing their problems and circumstances to weigh them down. They live stressed out, dragging through each day, not really excited about life.

The fact is, God has put a well of joy on the inside of each one of us. Our circumstances may be negative; things may not be going our way. But if we can learn to tap into this joy, we can still be happy. We can live with enthusiasm in spite of what comes against us.

The way to keep your life full of joy and the way to overcome the pressures of life is by keeping a song of praise in your heart. You may not actually vocalize words and music. You may simply express a grateful attitude. In your thoughts, you are thinking about God's goodness. Or maybe you go around humming a tune to a song. Throughout the day, you're making melody in your heart.

When you do that, you are filling up on the inside; God is replenishing your strength; He's refilling your supply of joy and peace. The very things that so often become depleted through the stress, disappointments, and rigors of the day, God wants to refresh in your life. When you keep singing that song of praise, you can be continually refilled, filling up faster than the depletion caused by life taking a toll on you. That's how we stay full of the Spirit.

I'm not saying that you have to burst out in song, but I am suggesting that in your thoughts, you continually express a grateful attitude. Under your breath, throughout the day, you are thanking God for all He has done for you and your family. When you are working around the house, instead of complaining, you're whistling a tune. While you are cleaning up the dishes, you have some good praise music on in the background. You're humming along with it.

What's happening? You are making melody in your heart, and when you do that, you are continually filled up with God's love, joy, and peace.

In our thoughts, we are grateful. We are excited about the future. We are expecting good things from God, so we allow a song to play continually in our minds. Any of us can do that. And yes, if you choose, you can sing in the shower or while driving to work. When you do this, you're making melody in your heart.

When you're driving to work, play an inspiring praise CD. Make use of that time. At your house, put on some good uplifting music. Pay attention to what's going into you. Be aware of what you're feeding yourself.

If you listen to negative material, don't be surprised when you find yourself feeling totally deflated. That's what many people do today. In their thoughts, they have not song. They dwell on negative issues, the people who hurt them, how much work they have to do, how unfair life is. Then they wonder why they don't have any energy, why they dread going to work. It's because they've lost their song. They're not replenishing what's being taken out of them. You must stay on the offensive and make sure you have more positive input than negative.

Start the day by making melody in your heart unto God, singing a song of praise. Even if you don't do it out loud, at least do it on the inside.

Whatever you do, get your song back. If you need to change some of your habits and quit dwellilng on the negative, do it! Things may not be perfect in your life, but it could be a whole lot worse. Stop dwelling on what's wrong and start being grateful for what's right. Throughout the day, thank God for His goodness. Meditate on His promises. If you'll get your song back, you'll not only enjoy life more, but you will see things change in your favor.

How would our attitude change if we did not take everything so seriously, and refused to allow every setback or disappointment to depress us for two weeks. How much better our lives could be if we'd simply keep the song of praise in our hearts!

Maybe lately you have noticed that you don't smile as much as usual; you don't laugh much anymore. You have allowed the burdens of life to weigh you down. Perhaps you have settled into enduring your life and not really enjoying it. You don't have the fire and enthusiasm you once had.

This can all change, but it requires a decision on your part. You must develop some new habits. Number one: Develop a habit of smiling on purpose.

Sometimes you have to smile by faith. If you'll smile by faith, soon the joy will follow. Smiling sends a message to your whole body that everything is going to be okay. When you smile, chemicals are released throughout your physical system that make you feel better. Numerous studies show that people who smile and are friendly, people who have a pleasant demeanor, get more breaks than other people who are solemn and unfriendly.

When you smile, it's not only good for yourself, but it's a good witness to others. They will want the sort of happiness that you have. It's one things to talk about our faith, but it's a far better thing to live it out. One of the best witnesses we could ever have is simply to be happy, to have a smile, to be friendly and pleasant to be around.

We're not supposed to be merely holding on or dragging through life. Get your song back. Quit allowing the burdens of life to weigh you down.

We all have tough times, hard things to handle, or heavy loads to carry. Don't allow your problems and circumstances to steal your joy.

I recognize that our problems are real, and at times, life is extremely difficult. But after you get through this problem, after you overcome this challenge, there will always be another challenge to overcome. There'll be something else to deal with. If you are waiting for all of your problems to go away before you decide to get your song back, you will miss the joy of living.

Number one: Get in a habit of smiling on purpose. Number two: Check your posture. Make sure you stand up tall, put your shoulders back and hold your head up high. You are a child of the Most High God. You are not supposed to go around slumped over, feeling sloppy, weak, inferior, and thinking that you're unattractive.

Much of communication is nonverbal. Our body language is communicating constantly, so make sure yours is saying what you want to say. Your countenance, smile, posture, and how you carry yourself may make a world of difference in becoming a better you.

Dealing With the Root Issues - Plan For Blessing

Our prayer should be, "God, please show me the truth about myself. I don't want to be at this same place next year, so if I have things holding me back, show me what they are. Help me, Father, to change. Help me to get to the root of my problem."

God is knocking on the door of new rooms in our hearts, maybe rooms that we haven't let Him enter previously. The only way He'll come in is if we invite Him. The doorknob is on the inside. I have discovered that I can allow God in some rooms of my heart, yet keep Him out of other rooms. Some of those rooms can be painful or embarrassing. Hidden in some of those rooms are hurts and wounds from the past. It's where our weaknesses and shortcomings are tucked away.

God continues to knock. If we want to get to the source, then we must look inside; we must allow God to shine the floodlight of His Word in every room of our heart.

Make sure that you're not carrying around excess baggage. If you have areas in your life in which you constantly struggle and you can't seem to get free, then you need to ask God to show you what's holding you back. If God brings something to light, then be bold enough to deal with it.

You can be happier, you can have better relationships, you can break free from anything that's holding you back, but you have to do your part. Be honest and face the truth about yourself. Let's not do as the children of Israel did in the years following the Exodus, thinking our lack of progress is somebody else's fault.

Perhaps you have been spinning your wheels, going around in circles year after year, and are not really happy. You need to be honest enough to say, "God, show me what it is. Am I relying on other people to make me happy? Do I have unrealistic expectations? Am I going to be happy only if I get married? Am I allowing my circumstances to keep me down? God, show me the truth about myself."

One of the first things we must do is to stop making excuses. We have to quit blaming the past. You may have been through a lot of heartache. That may be the reason you struggle with bad habits or why you have trouble in relationships. Perhaps you suffer from low self-esteem. That may be the reason, but don't use that as an excuse to stay the way you are. Take responsibility. Many people have had unfair things happen, and they go their whole lifetime allowing that experience to poison them.

You may have had a negative history, but please understand, you don't have to have a negative future. What's important is not where you've come from. What matters is where you are going.

If you want to become a better you, it is important to put the right actions along with your faith. It's not enough to believe, as important as that may be. We have to take it one step further and start expecting. While we are expecting good things from God, we should be making plans. We need to talk as if what we are praying about is going to happen. We should dare to step out in faith and act like it's going to happen.

God has put dreams in every one of our hearts. We all have things for which we are believing. Here's the key: We have to go beyond believing. True faith puts action behind it. If you're sick, you need to start making plans to get well. If you're struggling in your finances, start making plans to prosper. Lay your faith on the line.

Too often, we say that we are believing God for good things, yet with out actions, we're doing just the opposite. Understand that your faith will work in either direction, positively or negatively.

When you face sickness--and we all have things come against us from time to time--don't just give up and start making plans to live with it. That's not your sickness. Quit taking ownership of it and start making plans to get well. Our attitude should be, this sickness didn't come to stay, it came to pass.

Don't quit dreaming. Keep the vision in front of you. Keep believing for good things.

Speak words of health over yourself. Talk about the long life God is giving you, then put some action behind it.

Old is a state of mind. Your body may age, but if you'll stay young in your spirit, your body will age even better.

Maybe you have a history of serious illness in your family. You must stand against those diseases and believe God for good health. You can be the exception. You can be the one to start a new standard for your family. Here's what you have to do: You must think differently, and you need to take a different tack, take different actions. You cannot prepare for defeat and expect to live in victory. Keep your faith working for you, rather than against you.

I realize that we can't just wish things away; sometimes we can't even pray them away, but we can decide what we're going to plan for. We can plan to get old and lose our health, or we can plan to live a long, healthy, blessed, prosperous life.

Have a big dream for your life. Make provision for abundance. Start preparing for good things; prepare for success, prepare for abundance. Prepare for victory. Prepare for a long life. Prepare for good health. Get your faith going in the right direction. Start making plans to live a blessed, prosperous, healthy, joy-filled, abundant, long life. If you do this, God will do more than you can even ask or think. He will pour out His blessings and favor and you will become a much better you.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Rising Higher and Developing a Tender Conscience

Throughout life, God will deal with us and bring areas to light where we need to improve. He often speaks to us through our conscience, or through a still, small voice. He knows the things that are holding us back. He knows our weaknesses, faults, and the inner secrets that we keep hidden. When He brings these matters to our attention, if we want continued success and blessings, we have to be willing to face the truth about ourselves and take the corrective measures God commands.

It is important to understand that everything God tells us is for our good. God never holds us back from His best. Nor does He purposely make our lives more difficult. Quite the contrary, your heavenly Father is waiting for your obedience so He can release more of His favor and blessing in your life.

God has given us our own free will. He will not force us to do what is right. He won't force us to make good decisions. It's up to each one of us individually to pay attention to the still, small voice; at the same time, we musn't get so busy or self-directed that we miss what God is trying to tell us. Learn to act on His leading.

Many people wonder why they're not happy, why they are not blessed and increasing in influence, why they can't sleep well at night. Often it is because their conscience is not clear. We cannot bury things in our subconscious minds and expect to rise higher and enjoy God's best.

Friend, none of us needs to live that way. Our God is a forgiving, merciful God. When you make a mistake, you don't have to hide it. When you do wrong, don't run away from God. Run to God.

Are there things in your life that you are refusing to deal with? When you ask for forgiveness, God can restore you. That's when He'll put you back on your best path. That's when He'll give you a new beginning.

Remember that anything God asks you to do is for your benefit. It's so He can ultimately release more of His favor in your life.

Your conscience is often called the compass of the soul. It works like an inward monitor, similar to an alarm. When you're about to do something that is not beneficial or something that will get you into trouble, your conscience causes you to feel uneasy. Don't ignore that warning. That's your conscience helping you to know what is right and what is wrong. One of the best friends you can ever have is your own conscience.

We could avoid a great deal of trouble and heartache if we would maintain a more tender conscience.

Don't make the mistake of overriding your conscience. Respect it. God will use your conscience to help lead you and keep you out of trouble.

Learn to be sensitive. Stop when your conscience says stop. Pay attention to what you're feeling inside, and don't override your own conscience.

When you feel uncomfortable down inside, pull back and pay attention to what God is trying to say to you. If you will learn to be sensitive and listen to your conscience, God will keep you out of trouble. He will help you make good decisions. he can protect you from danger.

Before you step into trouble or make a poor decision, God will always provide a warning for you. An alarm will sound inside.

Most of the time, deep down inside, we know what we should do, but too often, we simply choose not to do it. Understand, every time you ignore your conscience, the next time that voice will speak more softly. Unfortunately, you can get to the place where you have totally drowned out the voice of your conscience.

Any sensitivity to God's voice should concern us--especially when we have been willfully doing wrong for so long that it no longer bothers us, or we no longer regard it as wrong. We've grown numb in that area. Again, that is why we should pray every day, "God, help me to stay sensitive to Your voice. Don't let me get calloused, cold, or numb in any area of my life, in my attitude, or in how I treat people, or in what I say or what I do. God, help me to have a tender conscience."

Friend, God rewards obedience. Get into God's best path. Don't keep overriding your conscience. If you will be honest with yourself and have the desire to change, God will help you to do it. It is better to go through a little pain of change than it is to go twenty or thirty years stuck in mediocrity.

I have found that the more obedient we are, the easier it becomes. Obedience breeds obedience. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Disobedience breeds more disobedience. Consequently, you can increase the sensitivity of your conscience or you can decrease it. Every time you obey, your conscience becomes more tender. When you obey, you're letting in a little more light. Your heart will be a little softer and you'll respond more quickly. You can get to the point where you are so sensitive that when you first feel that uneasiness, it will get your attention and cause you to make changes. Really, that's the kind of people God wants us to be. When we hear the still, small voice, when we first feel that little nudge, we are quick to take action.

Understand this: When you live an obedient life, God's blessings will chase you down and overtake you. When you obey, you cannot outrun the good things of God.

God does not expect you to change overnight. He is not going to be disappointed with you or write you off if you don't turn your life around in one week's time. No, all He asks is that you keep making progress. He doesn't want you to be at this same place next year. He will lead you in His own special way, and if you will be sensitive and do your best to keep your own conscience clear, God will be pleased, and He'll release more of His blessings in your life.

None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. If you will be sensitive and maintain a clear conscience, there's no limit to what God will do in your life. In contrast, when you have a guilty conscience, you don't feel good about yourself. You're not happy; you can't pray with boldness; you feel condemned. You don't expect good things, and you usually don't receive them.

At that point, the best thing you can do is go back and make things right. When you do that, your conscience will relax. That heavy burden will be lifted off you; you'll be able to sleep well. Not only that, but God will help you do better next time.

Live your life with a clear conscience. Get into God's best plan.

Many people are living with a heaviness hanging over their lives. They have some nagging feeling, something's always bothering them. They're not happy. The problem is they don't have a clear conscience. They've ignored the warnings for too long. They've gotten hard and cold in certain areas.

That insensitivity won't change until you make the proper adjustments. If there are things that you are doing that you know you should not be doing, then make some adjustments. Or if there are things that you should be doing and you're not, then make those changes. Whatever it is, make a decision that you're going to pay more attention to your conscience and that you are going to be quick to obey. That's when the heaviness will leave.

When our conscience is clear, condemnation flees. When we have a clear conscience, we can be happy. Other people may try to judge us or condemn us, but that negative input will bounce right off us.

Don't Cause Yourself Pail

A philosopher once said, "Until a man gets into trouble with his own heart, chances are he will not get out of trouble with God!" In other words, pain is not natural! It is an indication that an ungodly condition exists. It is a warning that something is placing a strain on your divine connection. Pain is life's way of getting your attention. It is also God's way of letting you know that you are out of balance, out of order or both!

It is rare that pain will slam you to the ground without a warning. It starts small. If left unattended, the pain becomes a flashing neon sign in the center of your brain. This is not natural. It is natural that you may feel a few pains at the beginning of a new experience. That's just a little fear passing through. The problem is that we have come to accept gnawing, sometimes debilitating pain as a natural way of living. We almost expect it! We believe that pain is a good thing. Nothing could be further from the truth!

There are people who will tell you that it is noble to tolerate pain. "Bite the bullet!" "Grit your teeth!" Pain, they believe, is good for you. In response, you may try to find ways to deal with pain. You expect to experience pain in your life, and when it strikes, you don't complain about it. Pain is not a godly, natural experience. When it erupts in your life, you must stop doing whatever is causing it, and start doing whatever it will take to eliminate it.

Until today, you may have been making excuses for why you have pain in your life. You may have been afraid to acknowledge what causes you pain. Just for today, be devoted to identifying and eliminating the situations and the people who cause you pain. Oh, sure! The thought of doing it may be painful, but awareness is the first step toward healing! Once you become aware and acknowledge the cause, you will be headed toward a pain-free existence.

God cannot help you unless you allow God to help you! Many of us could be accused of trying to out-God God. We think we know more than God. We think we can do more than God. We actually believe that what we want and how we want it is better than the way God can bring it to us. In fact, we get so busy doing what we do the way we do it, there is no opportunity for God to get into our lives at all!

God is so merciful! God will not fight you. If God did, you would get beat up badly! Most of us could use a divine butt whipping. Instead, God sits back and waits to be invited into your life. God will let you do whatever you want to do until you realize that God can do it better.

If you want to run the show, God will let you. If you want to pull all the strings, that's up to you. If you want to insist that what you are doing is the way it should be done, even when you are not getting anywhere, go right ahead. God will let you run yourself ragged, if you choose to do so. Unfortunately, you may not always be aware that you are in God's way. You think you are demonstrating independence. You think that it is all up to you and that you must do it or it won't get done. God knows better! God knows that God cannot fail! However, God has no need to prove to you what God can do.

How do you know when you are in God's way? How do you know when you are running your program rather than allowing God's divine plan to unfold? It's very simple! If you are struggling to make things happen and they are not happening, it's you, not God, running the show.

Until today, you may have been directing your own life and attempting to produce your own blessings. Just for today, ask for direction. Open yourself to guidance. Give up your attachments to having things your way. Open yourself to God's way.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

God Is In Control

To truly become a better you, it is imperative to believe that God is in control of your life. Too many people go around worried and upset. They're always trying to figure everything out.

But that's not the way God wants us to live. When we truly trust Him and believe that He's in control, we can rest. There's a peace in our hearts and minds. Deep down on the inside, we know that everything is going to be all right.

Many times, the reason we lose our peace and begin to worry is because we don't see anything happening in the areas we are praying about or believing for. Everything looks the same month after month, year after year. But we have to understand that God is working behind the scenes in our lives. He has already prearranged a right future for you. And if the curtain were pulled back so you could peer into the unseen realm, you would see God fighting your battles for you. You'd find your heavenly Father getting everything arranged in your favor. You'd see how God is getting ready to open a door and bring an opportunity across your path. I'm convinced that if we could really see how God is orchestrating everything behind the scenes, we wouldn't worry. We wouldn't live stressed out anymore.

You may be trying to figure everything out, trying to solve every problem. But it would take so much pressure off you, and you would enjoy your life so much more, if you could just learn to relinquish control and start believing that God really is directing your steps.

The Bible reminds us, "For it is God who is all the while at work in you." Notice, God doesn't work for a while, then go off on a two or three year vacation, and then come back and work a little more. God is constantly at work in your life. That means that although you may not be able to see it, God is arranging things in your favor. He is getting the right people lined up to come across your path. He is looking years down the road and getting everything perfectly in order, lining up solutions to problems you haven't even considered yet. He has the best opportunities, the best doors He plans to open for you. God is constantly working behind the scenes in our lives.

You don't know what God is doing behind the scenes. Don't get discouraged just because you don't see anything happening. That doesn't mean God is not working. In fact, many times God works most when we see it the least.

When we're in one of those dry seasons and we don't see anything happening, that is simply a test of our faith. We have to dig in our heels and show God what we're made of.

Many times God is working and we may not recognize it. We need to be more aware of God's goodness. When you get a good break, when things change in your favor, when you find yourself at the right place at the right time, recognize that this is not mere coincidence; that is God directing your steps; that is God at work in your life. If you'll be aware, it will encourage you and build your faith.

Every one of us can look back in our lives and see critical moments that had to be the hand of God. It's almost as though we can connect the dots. That's not a lucky break; that's God's hand of favor. All the while, God is working behind the scenes.

You may be doing the same thing you've done month after month, year after year, but then all of a sudden, you bump into a person who offers you a new position; you get one idea that takes you to a new level. You are at the right place at the right time, and you meet the man or woman of your dreams. God could have been working on that ten years earlier, getting everything lined up, and then suddenly it all comes together. Suddenly your due season shows up.

I'm asking you to not fall into that trap of dragging through life with no joy, no enthusiasm, and thinking nothing good is happening. You've got to shake that off and start believing that right now--not two weeks from now, but right now--God is working in your life. Right now, God is arranging things in your favor. Right now, God is fighting your battles for you. Right now, God is making your crooked places straight. And you may not see it come to pass today, but here's the key: Every day you live with faith and expectancy brings you one day closer to seeing it come to pass. You've got to believe God is in control. Believe God is working behind the scenes in your life.

The Scripture says, "God is effectually at work in those who believe." Notice, His power is activated only when we believe. God can work in your behalf your whole lifetime and you never really get the full benefit of it because you don't believe. Sure, you may get a break here or there, but when you really believe, when you really get up every day expecting good things, you're going to see more of God's favor. you're going to see what He's been doing behind the scenes.

And even when we have problems, even when things come against us, we have to believe that God already has the answer. In other words, that problem is no surprise to God. That doesn't have God baffled. God already has the answer. He knows the end from the beginning. God knows every trial we're ever going to face in the future. He knows every difficulty we're ever going to go through. The good news is God already has the solution. He has already made a way of escape. That tells me we don't have to live life worried. We don't have to go around all stressed out. God has it all under control.

It's encouraging to look back over your life and see the things that had to be God.

Take the pressure off yourself and start believing that God is in control of your life.

God knows who can influence your life. He knows who should put in a good word for you. You may not ever even know how or why it happened. Why was somebody good to you? Why did you get that break? That was God ordering your steps. For years, He was working behind the scenes, but in a moment of time, it all came together.

I believe God is working behind the scenes in your life. He is doing things that are going to thrust you to a whole new level. You may not see the culmination of it for years, so you must learn to trust Him. Stop worrying, don't allow yourself to become frustrated because your dream is not happening as quickly as you would like. In God's perfect timing, His plan for your life will come to fruition.

Trust God even in the small things in your life. We must choose to control our thought life.

If we will pay attention, we will often detect God's activity; we'll know that He is speaking to us, guiding us, directing our steps.

Throughout life, if we will be sensitive, if we'll be aware, we will see the hand of God even in little things. That's God letting us know He's still working behind the scenes.

These little signs are simply glimpses that God gives us to build our faith. They are reminders He is working behind the scenes. Our responsibility is to be sensitive to His leading, to be on the lookout for His hand moving in our everyday circumstances. If you are tuned in to God, you will soon recognize that most of the time, you don't simply bump into somebody. You didn't just get a lucky break. You don't just happen to be at the right place at the right time. God has been directing your steps.

You must believe God is at work in your life, and then be on the lookout to see His hand shaping the events. It may be that a Scripture jumps out at you one day while you're reading. Perhaps it will be a small bird in your backyard. Or maybe you will see a rainbow in the sky and know that it is your time to step into a fresh start. God gives us these little glimpses to build our faith, to let us know that He is still in control and working behind the scenes.

Even in our dark times, God is still working in our lives. Even when we don't think that we'll ever smile again, God is there.

Dare to trust Him today. Dare to believe that even in your disappointments, heartaches, and pains, God is right there with you. He said He would never leave you nor forsake you.

You don't have to figure everything out. You may not know what your future holds. But as long as you know who holds your future, you're going to be okay. God has been working behind the scenes in your life over the years.

Whatever your circumstances are--whether good or bad--you need to know that God already knows about them, and He is working behind the scenes to arrange future events in your favor. Learn to trust Him. Quit worrying about it. Reject anything that hints at frustration or impatience. Remember, when you believe, you activate His power. And keep in mind that just because you don't see anything happening, that doesn't mean God is not working.

Stay In Peace - Remember The Good

Many people are trying to get rid of their problems, hoping they will then be happy; then they can start enjoying their lives. But God wants us to learn to have peace in the midst of the storms. He wants us to have peace even when things aren't going our way. If we make the mistake of basing our peace on circumstances, we'll never experience God's best, because something will always upset us. You're never going to get rid of life's little aggravations. You will never get to a point where you don't have challenges or opportunities to get discouraged. We have to change our approach to life.

Peace is not necessarily the absence of trouble, nor is it always the absence of enemies. You can have trouble and conflict all around you on the outside, yet have real peace on the inside.

You may be upset and worried about some aspect of life. Perhaps you are concerned about your finances, or there's a situation at work that is unjust or unfair, and you are letting that situation rile you on the inside. Day after day, it weighs on you, draining your joy, your energy, and your enthusiasm. You have let the storm get on the inside, and you need to make some changes.

When this challenge is over, there will be something else that can steal your peace. You've got to change your approach and stop allowing those things to upset you. Instead, turn that situation over to God.

Understand that until you get to this place of peace, God can't really work in your life the way He wants to, because God works where there is an attitude of faith and expectancy, not attitudes of unbelief, worry, despair, and discouragement. Every day you will have opportunities to lose your peace.

Don't live life upset, worried, and frustrated.

Sometimes we lose our peace over things we can't change. You might as well enjoy you life while God is in the process of changing things in the lives of people around you.

One of the best ways that we can show God we are trusting Him is by simply remaining calm.

Be the type of person who remains calm in the midst of the storm.

Don't allow anyone to steal your peace. Understand that there will always be people around you who are able to aggravate you if you allow them.

Certain people can rub us the wrong way; they can irritate us if we allow them.

God is in complete control of your life. He's promised if you will remain at rest, He'll make your wrongs right. He'll bring justice into your life. You don't have to worry, nor must you be controlled by your circumstances.

Too often, we allow ourselves to become worried and upset. We let people steal our joy. We get bent out of shape if our plans don't work out exactly as we had hoped.

You may not be able to change certain aspects of your life, but you can rise above them. Turn those situations over to God. Make a decision today that you are not going to allow those things to upset you and bother you anymore.

The Scripture says that the things we see with our natural eyes are only temporary. That means they are subject to change. All it takes is one touch of God's favor, and God can turn around any situation. He can cause you to be at the right place at the right time. In any situation, God can turn it around in a split second of time.

Make a decision today that you are going to enter into God's rest. You're not going to live worried anymore. You're not going to let people steal your joy. You're not going to give up on the dreams that God has placed in your heart. Perhaps you need to get a new perspective, a fresh outlook. Maybe you've been in a difficult situation for a long time. It just doesn't look like it's going to get any better. The storm is raging and you are discouraged. Life looks gloomy and you have found yourself living lower than you believe God intends. You need to rise higher, above the circumstances.

The clouds in your life are only temporary. It may look dark and dismal right now, but the sun is up there, shining brightly.

God is on your side. There's nothing too difficult for Him. Lay aside anything that is weighing you down, so you can live free from worry, frustration, or discouragement, knowing that God is in complete control.

Too often, we remember what we should forget--our disappointments, hurts, and failures--and we forget what we should remember--our victories, successes, and the good times.

Take time to remember your victories, and celebrate what God has done in your life.

This is one of the best ways to build your faith and keep yourself encouraged. Remember the time that God made a way for you when it looked as if there was no way. Remember when you were so lonely, and God brought somebody special into your life. Recall how God has healed you or someone you know; think of how He protected you in the storm, guided you, blessed you.

It would do you good to review God's goodness to you on a regular basis -- simply thinking about the major victories in your life, the unexpected successes, or the times when you knew that God intervened in your circumstances.

When we learn to recall the good things God has done, it helps us to stay in an attitude of faith and to remain grateful. It's hard to go around complaining when you are constantly thinking about how good God has been to you. It's hard to get negative and to veer off into unbelief when you are always talking about God's blessings and favor in your life.

God has done something for every one of us. We merely need to go back and remember where we came from. Thank God for what He has done. Remember how He set you free. Remembering where you came from is one of the best ways to keep yourself encouraged.

Sometimes we take these things for granted. Some people don't even realize that it was God at work in their life.

Too often, we forget God is the Giver of all good things. God is the one who caused us to get that "lucky break." He's the one who caused us to be at the right place at the right time. Understand that there's no such thing as a coincidence when your life is directed by God. When something good happens to you, be sensitive, recognize the work of God, and learn to recall it often.

I encourage you to keep a notebook, something like a diary or a journal. When something happens in your life that you know is God, write it down. You know God opened up a door. Add that to your list. You know God spared your life or you know God spoke to you a specific word of direction; make a note of that, too. You were down and discouraged, ready to give up, when God quickened a Scripture to your heart and it lifted your spirits. Write that down. Keep a running record of the good things that God has done for you.

It need not always be something big; to others it may seem quite insignificant. But you know it is God guiding your life.

Then on a regular basis, get that notebook out and read about all the great things God has done in your life. You will be encouraged! When you recall how God opened up this door for you, protected you over here, restored you there, healed you there, your faith will increase. Especially in times of difficulty, when you are tempted to get discouraged, get that notebook out and read it again. If you do that, you will not go through the day discouraged and defeated. You will know that God is in control of your life. He is holding you in the palm of His hand, and He will take care of you.

It Is Well With My Soul

Have you ever noticed that it is in the difficult times that we grow stronger? That's when we are being stretched. That's when God is developing our character and preparing us for promotion.

We may not like it; stretching can sometimes be uncomfortable. But if we can keep the right attitude, we will come out better than we were before.

The key to passing the test is to remain in peace, at rest. When you're in peace, you have power. When you're at rest, God can fight your battles for you. Be willing to go through tough times with a good attitude.

We'd all love God to deliver us instantly. Most of the time, though, that's not the way He works. Make a decision to turn the situation over to God and then stop worrying about it. Don't allow it to dominate your thoughts and words; instead, move to that place of peace and rest. Even though the situation may be hard, and you may not like it, you are growing.

God has a plan and a purpose for everything. We may not be able to see it right now. But God has promised He will not allow anyting to come into our lives unless He can ultimately get some good out of it. This should take all the pressure off us. That means if our prayers aren't being answered in the way we want, God must have something better in store. He knows what's best, so you can believe that all things are going to work together for your good. Don't live stressed out when the pressure time comes.

When God is not moving in the situation, either it is not the right time, or He is doing a work in you.

When you understand this principle, it makes life so much easier. You know that God is in control and He has you exactly where He wants you. As long as you keep trusting Him, God is going to fight your battles for you. As long as we're upset, frustrated, and all bent out of shape, God will back away and wait. To show God that we are trusting Him, we must stay in peace; keep a smile on your face; have a good attitude day in and day out. When you are consistent, when you're stable, and when you're not moved by your circumstances, you are proclaiming, "I believe that God is in complete control of my life."

You may be fighting some serious battles, but the good news is, God is bigger than anything you're facing. He can make a way even when it looks like there is no way. Don't quit living your life. Don't let that obstacle be the central focus of your existence. Keep pressing forward, trusting God, and knowing that as you believe, all things are possible. It may look dark and bleak right now, but the Scripture says, "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." It doesn't matter what the situation looks like in the natural, because God is a supernatural God. When you are trusting in Him, you can rest. You needn't be stressed out or worried. You know that everything is going to be all right. You know that God has you in the palm of His hand. As you continue in peace, God will make sure that you fulfill every single day that He has ordained for you. Even when you are uncomfortable, remind yourself that you will come out better than you entered that situation.

Some people's faith is tied to their circumstances: When their circumstances are good, their faith is up; when the circumstances are adverse, their faith is down. You don't have to live that way. When you know that God is directing your steps, you can be consistent. No matter what comes into your life, God will use that for your good.

Sometimes God may ask us to go through things to help somebody else. He might put you in an uncomfortable place so you can be the answer to someone's prayer.

Have you ever considered that God may have you there on purpose, so He can do a work in them? Maybe God wants you to speak a word of hope into somebody's life; perhaps He is counting on y ou to let your light shine. Maybe God wants you to plant a seed of faith, so He can change their hearts.

As much as you desire to become a better you, it is important to understand that not everything God does is about you. Sometimes Gods asks you to suffer for somebody else. Sometimes God takes you through challenging experiences so you can help others in need. Precisely at that point, we need to say, "God, I'm trusting You. I believe that You are in control. Even though I don't understand this and it's not necessarily something I may have chosen, I'm going to stick with it, and with Your help, I will maintain a good attitude."

You may not always feel like doing it, but do it as a sacrifice to God because you love and trust Him. God rewards such an attitude. God is keeping the records. As you sow seeds to help someone else, God sees, and He will reward you.

Sometimes we can get so focused on what we want that we let it consume us. It's imperative that we learn to be content right where we are. When we turn loose of our will, and our way, God works wonders.

Sometimes we can get so consumed with our dreams or overcoming an obstacle, that's all we think about, talk about, and pray about, and we're not going to be happy unless it comes to pass exactly the way we want it. That leads to frustration, and if we're not careful, possibly to resentment. When you sense that happening, you must get back to that place of rest and peace where you can honestly say, "God, I trust you. I believe that You know what's best for me. And God, even if this doesn't work out the way I want, I'm not going to be unhappy. I'm not going to let this ruin the rest of my life. I'm making a decision that I'm going to be content right where You have me today."

No matter what comes our way in life, we need to be able to say, "It is well with my soul. Life may have thrown me some curves, but it is well with my soul. All my dreams may not have come to pass just yet, that's okay. I'm not in a hurry. I know in God's timing they will."

You may need to get a new perspective. Perhaps you have been too focused on what you don't have, what you can't do, and what's wrong in your life. Maybe you've been telling God every five minutes what to do and how to do it, and letting Him know that you are not going to be happy unless it turns out exactly like you want it.

No matter how dark and gloomy it looks in your life right now, if you can release the weight of those burdens, you will rise higher and you will see the sun break forth in your life.

Ask God to give you the strength to endure. And rest assured, He will take care of you, even in the midst of life's most vicious storms.

Embrace The Place Where You Are

Do you know someone who is not happy with where he or she is in life? They are constantly worried, trying to reason things out, trying to change things that only God can change.

I believe that we create much of our own happiness and frustration by constantly resisting and fighting against situations and circumstances occurring in our lives.

Learn to relax and accept the place where you are. Admittedly, it may not be a great place right now. We all have things we want to see changed, things we want to happen sooner. If we really believe that God is in control and is directing our steps, then we must believe that we are exactly where we are supposed to be. We needn't be wrestling with life and resisting our circumstances all the time.

You need to be at peace with where you are right now. Things may not be perfect. You may have some areas in which you need to improve. But as long as you are living with worry and stress, you are tying the hands of Almighty God. If you could get to a place of peace, God could fight your battles for you. He can turn your negative situations around and use them for good.

Scripture records, "Those who have believed enter in to the rest of God." Being in God's rest means that although you may have a problem, you trust Him to take care of it. It means that you may have a situation that you don't understand, but you are not constantly trying to figure it out. It means you have a dream in your heart, but you are not in a hurry, you're not frustrated because it hasn't come to fruition yet. In other words, when you are really in God's rest, you know that God has you in the palm of His hand. No matter where you are, you accept it as the place God wants you to be.

I'm not saying that God wants you to stay there, but if you are truly trusting Him, if you believe He is in control, then wherever you are--in either good circumstances or bad--that is where you are supposed to be. Maybe something unfair has happened; maybe somebody is not treating you right, or you are struggling financially. Still, that doesn't give you the right to live upset and frustrated.

We have to understand that God has promised He will use whatever comes into our lives for our good. He will use that difficulty to do a work in you. What you are facing currently may not be good, but if you'll keep the right attitude, He'll use it for your good.

God is not going to remove every difficulty from you instantly. He uses those things to refine us, to do a fresh work in us. In the tough times, God develops our character. The fact is, we don't grow nearly as much when everything is easy; we grow when life is difficult, when we are exercising our spiritual muscles, in the pressure spots.

Of course, none of us enjoys being uncomfortable, but it will help you to press through difficult times if you can remember that God is going to get some good out of your discomfort. You will come out of that situation stronger than before, and God is getting you prepared for greater things.

But you have to pass the test. If you are dragging around worried, trying to figure everything out, and fighting against everything that's not going your way, you will simply prolong the process. You must recognize you are where you are for a reason. It may be because of your choices, or maybe it is merely an attack of the enemy. Whatever it is, God will not allow anything to come into your life unless He has a purpose for it. You may not like it; you may be uncomfortable. But if you'll keep the right attitude, in the end, you will come out stronger and better off than you were before.

Understand that your faith will not instantly deliver you out of every problem. Instead, your faith will carry you through the problem. If God removed some of the things that you are praying for Him to remove right now, you wouldn't be prepared for the promotion that He has in store for you. He's using what you are currently going through to get you ready for the good things to come. If you are not getting your way, it doesn't mean that God doesn't love you. If your prayers aren't being answered in the way you want, or on your timetable, it doesn't mean that God is angry with you or that He is trying to punish you.

Get a bigger vision than that. Maybe it means God has something better in store. Maybe it means He's protecting you from danger up ahead. Or maybe God is just trying to do a work in you so He can take you to a whole new level. Why don't you quit resisting everything that's going on in your life? Quit fighting against everything that doesn't go your way.

Maybe God is answering your prayers; He's simply saying no. Or maybe He's saying it's not the right time. Or maybe He's saying, "I'm not going to remove that obstacle until you change your attitude and quit complaining about it." Make some simple adjustments, and you will see things begin to improve.

If you push and manipulate, trying to make things happen, God will sometimes let you have your way--and you will have to learn His lessons the hard way.

God is a gentleman. If you insist, He will back off and let you do things your way. Most of the time when we do that, though, we end up settling for second best.

If events are not happening as quickly as you would like, or if you are not seeing circumstances change in your favor, open your grip on the situation; relax and learn to trust God. Know this: God is on your side. He is not trying to hold you back. Nobody wants you to fulfill your destiny more than Almighty God. Nobody wants you to see your dreams come to pass any more than He does. He put the dream in your heart in the first place. Let Him lead you and guide you.

Thank God, He knows what's best for us. Thank God that He's merciful and He doesn't always give us our way.

Too often, we're shortsighted. We can see only a little ways down the road. God, though, can see the big picture. He knows when something is going to be a dead end. He knows when someone is going to be a distraction that will hinder us from our destiny.

Some of the things you may be frustrated about right now, ten years from now you will look back at and thank God for not answering that prayer the way you wanted or for not opening up that door. You may not be able to see it right now, but that's what faith is all about. Why don't you trust God? Believe that He has you in the palm of His hand and know that when it comes time for God to open a door, no man can keep it shut. No obstacle is too high.

Suddenly, God can turn any situation around. Suddenly, God can cause a door to open. All it takes is one touch of God's favor.

You may be going through some tough times. But remember, God has promised He will never let you go through more than you can handle.

Some things you may never understand this side of heaven. If you are always trying to figure it out, it will only bring frustration and confusion. Learn to trust God, and know that as long as you're doing your best, as long as you're keeping your heart pure before God, you are exactly where you're supposed to be. It may not be easy, but in the end, God is going to use it to your advantage.

One of the most important aspects of faith is trusting God even when we don't understand.

Even in your times of greatest difficulty, even if the botton falls out, you don't have to be distraught and let yourself get all worked up.

If you're in a hard place, be encouraged in knowing that God is still in control of your life. He made your body. He knows your circumstances. Don't sit around depressend and discouraged. Your attitude should be "God, I'm trusting You. I know You can do what men can't do, and I'm committing my life into Your hands."

Quit living frustrated because your prayers weren't answered the way you wanted. Quit being depressed because you're not as far in your career as you had hoped, or because you have a problem in your marriage, or in your finances. No, just keep pressing forward. Keep you joy and enthusiasm. You may not be exactly where you hoped to be, but know this: God is still in control of your life. Moreover, as long as you keep passing the tests, no forces of darkness can keep you from fulfilling your God-given destiny.

You can have that heavy burden lifted off you. You don't have to fight and struggle all the time, trying to change everybody and everything. No, just embrace the place where you are and believe that God is in control. He's doing a work in you. He's guiding and directing you.

If you are currently in a storm, or if you are facing some severe difficulties, hear God speaking to your heart these words: "Rise above it. Quit fighting. Quit trying to change things that only I can change."

Believe that God has a great plan for you life. Friend, if you'll learn to embrace the place where you are, you can rise higher. You'll overcome every obstacle, and you can live that life of victory that God has in store for you!

Handling Criticism - Keep Yourself Happy

Every one of us will have times when we are criticized, sometimes fairly, but more often unfairly, creating stress in our hearts and minds and tension in our relationships.

Certainly, constructive criticism can be helpful. An insightful point of light presented by someone who truly has your best interest at heart can illuminate an area where you need to improve. Sad to say, most criticism is not intended to build up another person; quite the opposite. It is not given in the spirit of blessing, but is more often presented with an intentional sting. The criticism that hurts the worst is frequently undeserved and unfair. Such criticism is a reflection more of the critic than of the person being criticized.

I've found that unwarranted criticism is most often based on jealousy. It stems from a competitive spirit. You have something that somebody else wants. Instead of being happy for you, instead of keeping a good attitude, knowing that God can do something similar for anyone who trusts Him, jealousy rises up in the critical person.

The more successful you are, the more criticism you will encounter.

Here's the key to handling criticism: Never take it personally.

You have to accept the fact that not everybody is going to like you, not everybody is going to accept you, and you certainly cannot keep everybody happy. Some people will find fault, no matter what you do. You can be there for them a thousand times in a row, but they will remind you repeatedly of that one time when you couldn't show up. Life is too short to try to keep people like that happy.

Understand that your destiny is nt tied to what people are saying about you.

God has the final say.

Another important key is not to allow the criticism to change you. We need to be tough on the outside, but you have to stay tender on the inside. We cannot let cutting remarks and insensitive words cause us to become self-conscious.

God made you like you are on purpose. If people are making fun of you or causing you to feel overly self-conscious, just shake it off. Don't let their comments or actions stick to you.

One of the most important keys to a better life is to keep yourself happy, rather than living to please everybody else.

God does not want you to sacrifice your happiness to keep somebody else happy. Your first priority is to take care of yourself.

You are not responsible for everybody else's happiness. You are responsible for your own happiness. If people are controlling you, it's not their fault; it's your fault.

You needn't be harsh or uncaring, but sometimes we can be so good-hearted that we allow people to control us.

If you are in a relationship where you do the majority of the giving and always encourage or rescue the other person, that is a clear sign that something is out of balance.

Too often, we are controlled by others more than we realize.

Examine how you spend your time and check your motives as to why you do what you do. Is it out of guilt? Is it because somebody is manipulating or controlling you? If so, make some changes. If you don't take control of your life, others will, and they may take you places you don't want to go. You must be secure enough in yourself to tell people no.

A true friend doesn't get upset when you can't meet every one of his or her requests.

Too often, we live to please everybody else, but we neglect to take time to please ourselves.

Always do what you must in love, be kind and respectful, but stand firm and make a decision that you will live in freedom.

Let this be a turning point. If you have been living to please everybody else, or constantly trying to fix everything, rid yourself of that false sense of responsibility. Yes, reach out to others. Yes, be kind and be compassionate. But make sure that you're keeping yourself happy. After God, you are your first priority.

Adult Behavior

There are people who walk around in grown-up bodies who are not adults. Often they are people of advanced age and accomplishment. They can be people you trust with your life and worldly possessions. In fact, if you are not observant, you may find yourself sleeping with one. Because you are unaware, you expect these grown-ups to act in an adult manner. Then, in a moment of dire need, when you least expect it, you discover that this very grown-up person has no concept of what it means to be an adult. The results can be quite mind-boggling!

An adult is a person who is able to accept total responsibility for themselves and their actions. They don't blame other people for what they cannot do. They don't employ excuses to cover what they have done or not done. An adult is a person who is not afraid to say what is on their mind and say it without attacking you. Adults have a sense of clarity that will keep them calm. Adults will give themselves the benefit of the doubt, knowing that they are human. Because adults accept and acknowledge their own humanness, they can accept and acknowledge yours. Adults do not strive for perfection. They see things as they are and accept them. Adults do not fall apart in the face of disappointment. They answer frustration with patience. Adults know how to take care of their physical, mental and emotional needs, and they are able to put their needs aside in order to handle an emergency. An adult is a person whose attention is not totally focused on their wants and needs. God gets some attention, the adult gets some and you can have the rest.

People are who they are and do what they do whether or not you like it or agree with them. We each have different lessons to learn. We each take a different path to our lessons. There are times when someone's path will cross your path and cause you to stumble or fall. That does not make them wrong. That does not make you right. The only thing that a judgment does is distract you from what it is that you must do for yourself.

Form Better Habits

A habit is an acquired, learned behavior that we do without even thinking about it. It's almost involuntary. We've done it so much it become practically second nature. If we have good habits, that may be fine. But sometimes our habits are keeping us from God's best, and we may not even realize it.

Many of the habits that we've developed stem from the culture in which we were raised.

Your habits--whether good or bad--will greatly determine your future. One study says that 90 percent of our everyday behavior is based on our habits. Let that sink in for a moment: From the time we get up in the morning to the time we go to bed at night, 90 percent of what we do is habitual behavior. We do what we've always done. It is no wonder that if you want to change your life, you must start by consciously changing your everyday habits. You can't keep doing the same things you have been doing and expect to get different results.

To become a better you, take inventory of your habits. Do you have a tendency to be negative in your thoughts and conversations? Do you worry all the time? Do you overeat?

Understand, your habit may not be legally, ethically, or morally wrong. It can be a seemingly innocuous action or attitude, a little thing, but if you don't do something about it, you can go for years wasting time and energy, being unproductive and unprofitable. That is not God's best.

The good news is you can change. You can develop better habits. Most studies of habitual behavior indicate that a habit can be broken in six weeks; some studies tell us that you can break a habit in as little as twenty-one days. Think about that. If you will discipline yourself for a month or so, and be willing to suffer through the pain of change, you can rid yourself of a negative behavior, form a new healthy habit, and rise to a new level of personal freedom.

Successful people develop better habits.

If you have a habit of eating a bunch of junk food and drinking several sodas every day, commit yourself to forming better eating habits. Don't go on a crash diet, just change one small thing at a time. Before long, you will notice a marked difference in your energy level as well as your personal appearance.

Our habits become part of our character. The first step toward changing is to identify what's holding you back. Identify any bad habits and then make a decision to do something about them.

The subtle danger asociated with many bad habits is that we may not suffer their consequences until later on in life. If you mistreat your body by eating poorly and working long hours all the time, getting insufficient nutrition and rest, you may get away with it for awhile, but one day those bad habits will catch up with you.

I heard somebody say, "Habits are like gravity; they will always pull you toward them." If you develop good habits, they'll make your life easier, more successful, and more productive. You won't be struggling constantly to do the right thing. When you practice good habits, your life will produce good fruit. You'll be happy, naturally, and you will experience God's abundant life. But if you establish bad habits, they will inevitably drag you down. You'll gravitate toward them.

Certainly, if you've been set in your ways for twenty or thirty years, you may not overcome that habit you want to change in a mere twenty-one days. But if you will make up your mind, and ask God for His help in breaking that habit, it won't take you years to do it either. Make a decision to change, stick with it, and you will be amazed how soon you begin to form that new habit. It will get easier every day, to the point when, eventually, you'll do the right thing automatically. You won't even have to think about it.

Changing a habit is not easy at first, but eventually, once you retrain yourself, the new habit comes naturally.

You will always have plenty of excuses and rationalizations why you should not change. You can usually find a reason to give up, turn around, go back, and keep living the same way you've always lived. Don't be surprised when you are tested. Simply remember that the Scripture says, "There is no temptation that will come to you that you can't overcome. God will always make a way of escape." No matter how intense the pressure, or how difficult it seems, you need to know that you can withstand it. God will help you. He will make a way of escape, but you must take it.

The first step to overcoming any habit or addiction is to identify what's holding you back. But don't stop there. Make a decision to do something about it. Take action. Don't be too embarrassed to seek help. Understand that you can change. Freedom is available. Don't believe the lie that you're stuck and you'll never get any better. God already has a path of success laid out for you.

But you must do your part and be willing to walk it out. The next time that temptation comes, the first thing you should do is pray. Get God involved in your situation. We cannot defeat bad habits in our own strength. Ask God to help you.

We're all going to face temptation. In any area that you're trying to change--even small things--seek His help.

You may have some areas in your life that you need to get under control. God is saying, "Don't put it off any longer. Today is the day to start. Today can be a new beginning." If you'll take this to heart and be willing to press past the pain of change, a year from now, you won't be the same person. You'll be free from addictions, free from bad attitudes, free from the bondage that's been holding you back.

Make sure you are practicing the right things. Starve any bad habits and feed your good habits. If you do this, you will rise higher and God will pour out His blessings and favor in your life. Friend, don't let anything master you. Develop better habits. Get rid of anything that is not producing good fruit in your life.

Remember, your habits today will determine your future. Examine your life, take inventory of your habits, and when you find something that's not right, be quick to change. In the process, you will establish the habit of becoming a better you.

Many people don't realize that much of the manner in which we approach life--our attitudes, and our demeanor--is learned behavior. These habits have formed by repetition throughout the years. If we've spent years focusing on what's wrong rather than what's right, then these negative patterns are going to keep us from enjoying our lives.

You can get rid of a negative mentality and develop a habit of happiness.

No matter what comes our way, we can have smiles on our faces. We should get up each morning excited about that day. Even if we are facing difficult or negative circumstances, we need to learn to keep a positive outlook.

The bottom line is if you're going to be happy, you need to make a decision to be happy right now.

Happiness does not depend on your circumstances; it depends on your will. It's a choice that you make.

If you are going to develop a habit of happiness, you must learn to relax and go with the flow, instead of getting frustrated. You have to believe that God is in control, and that means you have no need to be stressed out and worried. Moreover, you have to be grateful for what you have, rather than complaining about what you don't have. A habit of happiness boils down to staying on the positive side of life.

Each day is full of surprises and inconveniences, so you must accept the fact that not everything is going to always go your way. Your plans are not always going to work out just as you scheduled them. When that happens, make a willful decision that you are not going to let the circumstances upset you. Don't allow stress to steal your joy. Instead, be adaptable and adjustable and seek to make the best of a bad situation.

You can't control people, nor can you change them. Only God can do that.

Life is too short to live it stressed out. Prolonged stress can damage your health and significantly shorten your life.

Think about this. Ten years from now, many of the things that you are allowing to create stress in your life won't even matter.

When your plans don't work out, don't get negative and sour. Don't start complaining. God may be protecting you from an accident. How do you know God has not allowed that delay so you can meet somebody He really wants you to know? Learn to go with the flow. Don't get upset and let minor interruptions steal your joy.

Sometimes our plans may be interrupted because God has somebody He wants us to touch or something special He wants us to do. Many times we don't even realize such "behind the scenes" events are happening, but God is using us.

Understand, God did not create you to be a negative-thinking person. He didn't make any of us to live depressed, stressed out, worried, or frustrated. God intends for you to be happy, peaceful, contented, and to enjoy your life. God wants us to be examples of what it means to live a life of faith. When people see us, they should see so much joy, peace, and happiness that they will want what we have.

Take an honest look at your life. Are you as happy as you know you should be deep down inside? Do you get up each day excited about your future? Are you enjoying your family? Enjoying your friends? If not, what is stealing your joy and causing you to get upset? Why are you worried? Identify what it is. Take inventory and then take it one step further. Begin retraining your mind in those particular areas.

Many times, you can make a small change--a minor adjustment in your attitude, or a minor adjustment in how you treat people; a minor adjustment in how you respond to problems--and it will make a huge difference in your life and in your level of joy.

To develop a habit of happiness, you must retrain those negative responses. When you get up in the morning, you may feel discouraged or depressed. You may not feel like going to work. But instead of dragging through the day, thinking, Nothing good ever happens to me; this is going to be a lousy day, break out of that rut. No matter what those circumstances look like, say, "This is the day the Lord has made. I'm going to enjoy it. I'm going to be happy today." Speak that out by faith. Every time you do, you are retraining your mind. You're forming a new habit of happiness.

Train your mind to see the good. Be grateful for what you have and get rid of any negative conditioned responses.

I don't mean that you feel on top of the world all the time. That's not realistic. I'm talking bout being content. Sure, you may have some problems. We all have obstacles to overcome. But we know God is in control. We know He has us in the palm of His hand.

Happiness is not going to fall on us. It's a choice we have to make. Being positive doesn't necessarily come naturally. We have to make that decision daily.

When you get out of bed in the morning, put a smile on your face. Set the tone right at the start of the day. If you don't set the tone, somebody else will set it for you.

You need to realize that when you smile, it's an act of faith. When you smile, you're sending a message to your whole body, announcing that everything is going to be all right. If you will develop this positive attitude of faith, you will sow a seed for God to work in your life.

Unquestionably, what you put into your heart and mind is what you're going to get out. Sure, you may have negative circumstances. Maybe you didn't get good breaks. Maybe you didn't get the position you were longing for. Now instead of automatically stamping it "negative" and storing it away, turn your attitude around. Remind yourself, "I know God has something better in store for me. I know when one door closes, God can open another door." When you do that, you will take that negative situation, turn it around, and stamp it "positive."

Train your mind to see the good. Get rid of any negative, conditioned responses. Everybody around you may be complaining, but you can find the good in every situation. If you'll do what the Scripture says, you can indeed be happy all the time.