Expect Failure at First

No plan is perfect the first time it is created. Most plans to accomplish something new will fail over and over again at the beginning. This is to be expected. Your ability to accept feedback and make corrections to the plan of activity is vital to your success. Keep asking, what’s working? and what’s not working? Be more concerned with what’s right rather than who’s right.

Remember the old saying, “back to the drawing board” whenever your plan doesn’t work, relax, take a deep breath, and revisit it.

Focus on the Solution

When you have a problem, resolve to be solution oriented. Expect difficulties as a part of the process and reaolve to respond to them effectively. If you are not achieving your goals on schedule, ask, what is the problem? What else is the problem? What are the solutions? What else is a solution? What can we do now? What is the next step?

It seems that when you begin work on the achievement of a new goal, you immediately experience setbacks, obstacles, difficulties, and temporary failure. This is to be expected. It is normal and natural. It takes tremendous effort to launch something new and make it successful. But this is the price that you have to pay to achieve the goals that you have set for yourself.

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Having Strength During Hard Times: Bible Verses

Don’t Worry Or Fear, Find Your Strength In Him

It can be so easy to give into worry, fear and despair, but with Him we can find strength, and look forward to wonderful things. He gives us hope!

Isaiah 43:1-3 Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Luke 12:25-26 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life[a]? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Philippians 4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Psalm 34:4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.

Psalm 27: 1-3 The LORD is my light and my salvation whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me,it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;though war break out against me,even then I will be confident.

Joshua 1:9 Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Psalm 145: 18-19 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord, is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

God Gives Us A Spirit Of Strength And Power

Through faith in Christ we are given a spirit of power, love and discipline, and for that reason we have nothing to fear. We can hold onto his promises and be confident that he’ll see us through even the darkest of days.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

Psalm 138:3 When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted.

Psalm 16:8 I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 62:1-2 My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Psalm 112: 1, 7-8 Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord. They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord. Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid.

Psalm 91:1-2 You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust.”

Psalm 112: 1, 7-8 Praise the Lord! Happy are those who fear the Lord. They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord. Their hearts are steady, they will not be afraid.

Hard Times May Come, But He’s There With Us Through Them All

Though we aren’t promised an easy life, we are told that Christ will be there with us when we believe in Him, that he won’t give us more than we can handle with His help, and even our hard times can be used to glorify God.

2 Corinthians 12:9 My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

Philippians 4: 12-13 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation . . . . I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

2 Thessalonians 3:3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

Isaiah 40:29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

1 Peter 5: 10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

Hebrews 4:16 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Deuteronomy 31:6,8 Be strong and bold; have no fear or dread of them, because it is the Lord your God who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

2 Thessalonians 3:16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.

Strength In Christ Our Lord And Savior

As the verses above illustrate, we’re told to call on Jesus Christ, and that he will hear us and give us strength, hope and a grace sufficient to carry us through. He will be our ever present help when we’re in need, and he can give us a peace that passes all understanding. For me that’s extremely encouraging.

A Hand To Hold In The Darkness

When the storms of life rage and the darkness grows dense, that is no time to panic or fear. No matter how dark things seem, God can see what you can’t see, and He promised to be with you and guide you safely to shore if you’ll trust Him.

Uncle David the psalmist knew the truth that God is Light and the darkness can’t hide anything from His view.

Even the darkness will not be dark for you; the night will shine like the day, for Darkness is as Light to you. (Psalm 139:12) NIV

Most of us have experienced a “midnight hour” in our lives – a time when things seemed their darkest and bleakest. That’s probably how the disciples felt that night on the Sea of Galilee. It was night and they were struggling to no avail. The wind was blowing against them, and they were no doubt growing discouraged and weary. Yet it wasn’t dark to the Master. He was watching over them with loving care. He is watching over us, too, and He promised to help us in our time of need.

For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help the. (Isaiah 41:13) KJV

God is always present with us, and we have His promise that He will help us. But when tests and trials come, the rowing always gets tougher when we allow our view of God to become masked by the storm. If we’re not careful in the midst of a test or trial, we can lose our perspective of reality and take a wrong turn.

Like my pastor will say, every situation in life is in time and season. He also cautions people never to make a life- changing decision in the middle of a crisis. God’s time is always the best and it’s better to seek God and regain their composure and perspective.

I’ve seen people make life- changing decisions that they later regretted because they lost their perspective in a storm of life. Their ship was pitching and rolling on the waves of adversity, and they lost sight of the Master. They began to take matters into their own hands, and they suffered consequences that God never intended for them to suffer.

Storms have the ability to warp our perspective if we’re not careful. Even some of the great men of the Bible temporarily lost their focus in times of trouble. For example, Chief Moses as he dealt with a rebellious people; a heart sick Uncle David as he grieved for a son who had tried to kill him; a despondent Chief Elijah as he ran from jezebel; and an angered Chief Jonah as God forgave a penitent nation. At times, duress and personal struggle caused the attitudes of these men to become tainted by their troubles. They wanted to give up and quit. They wanted to take matters into their own hands and try to change God’s plan. But God wanted them to cling to Him and let Him guide them through the storms and struggles.

It’s so easy to lose your perspective of reality when things seem dark, but if you’ll hold tightly to the Saviour’s hand, light will come. The day will dawn, and your “midnight hour” will be a thing of the past.

Psalm 30:5 says, “… Weeping may endure for a night, But Joy comes on the morning.”

Photo credit: Pinterest

Are You In A Difficult Season Of Life?

This post is for people, like me, who have been through difficult times in their lives. Translation: this post is for everyone. Going through times of trial is part of being human. In fact, we are either just coming out of a trial, currently in a trial, or about to go into a time of trial. That sounds depressing huh? The truth is that difficult times of trial do not have to be viewed as a negative thing. Although each person on earth has unique trials in their lives, I see three common points that are involved in trials for all of us.

1. We all have them.
The bible says to build each other up in faith. Build each other up as trials present themselves. We all have trials, but each trial is unique. Just because we may not struggle with the same thing as another does not mean that we should be insensitive and unwilling to build up someone going through a difficult season in their lives.

2. The deepest parts of ourselves are exposed.
The person that you truly are is who you are when you are in a rough time or under extreme pressure. We really learn who we are and what we can handle during times of trial. Although we look at this as a negative thing; knowing who we are deep down inside and what we are able to handle should be a positive thing.

3. We find ourselves.
A trialing time is going to magnify who you truly are on the inside. Sometimes we find ourselves during the trials; sometimes it isn’t until after it has past. Ask yourself this question: Who am I during times trial in my life? Finding yourself can be a beautiful thing if you use it to grow and develop into who you want to become in the future.

Trials are not supposed to be looked at negatively. However, we enjoy comfort so we look at a time of trial as being a bad thing. In reality, in order for us to become who we are supposed to be, we must go through some trialing times. The bible says in James 1:12, “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

Definition of Trial: a tryout or experiment to test quality, value, or usefulness.

What if we viewed the difficulties in our lives more as quality tests instead of seeing them as horrible times? James 1:2-3 says to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, because the testing of our faith produces perseverance.

I grew up playing city league baseball. I can remember going to these huge recruiting days as a kid. You would get out there, they would put you in some simple scenarios, some difficult ones, and in some that seemed impossible. I always wondered why the coaches would do that. I realize now that it wasn’t to see if I could do something impossible, it was to see how I reacted, adapt and grow in the trial when success seemed impossible.

If you are in a time of trial, I encourage you to change your mindset. Think of this season as more of a test to work on your most inward character and to find yourself on a greater level in the process. Above all else, stay encouraged! God has not left you; He is simply growing you for who He needs you to become. Finish this difficult season strong!

Questions About God That Will Remain As Questions

BY CHRISTINE LAILANI GINETE – ROME

BY CHRISTINE LAILANI GINETE – ROME

When it comes to faith, there are experiences in life that made us ask some questions about God. Find out what they are and their answers.

When it comes to faith, there are some questions about God that many of us have encountered one way or the other. These questions may have been fueled by doubts but they, in turn, have made our faith even stronger. Here are some of those questions:

What Are Your Questions About God?

  1. If God is the God of all, why did He allow sin to enter the world?
  2. Did God, being the Creator, create hell?
  3. If God is a powerful God, why can’t He eradicate every famine, oppression, sickness, poverty, crime, war, and all that is considered sin and evil in this world?
  4. Why must people continue to suffer and perish because of the sin that Adam & Eve committed if God is a loving God?
  5. Why must God allow Satan to test Job?

These are questions about God that have been answered and explained by a lot of biblical scholars. All the answers vary, and some can lead to even more questions. When I was still new in my faith, I also asked these questions. And when I celebrated my 5th year as a Christian this year, I still asked these questions. The only difference between the two scenarios is that I haven’t read much of the Bible before but now it’s the opposite.

If we are to assess these questions based on our human thinking and understanding and try to come up with only one good answer, it’s impossible. But if we are to ask these questions in light of the Scripture listed below, we will begin to understand they will remain as questions and it is only God who can answer them.

Here are the bible verses:

“For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” – Revelation 21:4

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.” – John 14:1

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

In Christianity and faith, there is no room for doubt. It’s because the Scripture which is God-breathed, assured us already that our journey here on earth is never alone because He sent to us our partner and our guide and that is the Spirit who will lead us always.

Do you have experiences in your life that brought you to ask these questions about God? If yes, what are they?

Photo credit: Pinterest

Stop taking the easy road of distraction, and choose the more challenging path of obedience


At first glance, when reading the title of this blog, it may seem that the two words “distraction” and “obedience” do not have much of a correlation. It would make sense to say that if a person is distracted, then they are not choosing to disobey. In other words, is a distracted person willfully choosing not to obey if they have never actually heard a command?

I would argue that the answer is yes. If you don’t agree with me, then consider this example. A boy comes home from school, and knows that most days there is a list of chores on the kitchen counter or the fridge for him to complete. The mother leaves the list in the kitchen, because she knows that her son goes in there every day for a snack when school is over. One day, that child wises up and realizes that if he just doesn’t go in the kitchen, then he won’t have to do any chores. He decides that he can forego his usual snack, and then he can go up in his room, lock the door, put headphones on, and play video games. Then he won’t be able to hear his mom when she is calling for him to come do the chores. The crazy part is that he actually thinks that this will somehow relieve him of his responsibility, and that his mom won’t come up stairs and knock on that door until he answers. In fact, she will probably kick it in if he keeps her waiting too long.

How often do we play this same game with God!? Personally, I am so guilty of this. This is something I have to constantly rely on God to help me with. When things start to get hard, and He is maneuvering me into areas that are getting more and more uncomfortable, I have a tendency to want to distract myself so I don’t hear his voice. I will distract myself with good things! Then I reason out why it is okay to be so distracted, because I am distracted by things like work, ministry, Christian movies and Christian music. At least I am not distracted by bad things like drugs and alcohol right?

The hard answer to this is that distractions are distractions no matter what the form, especially if they are keeping us from God. If that thing is keeping us from hearing His voice and obeying, then it is not benefiting us. It is merely a distraction that we are purposefully giving our attention to, because we are afraid of what God has for us.

For example, God might be impressing upon you that the most important thing in your life right now is to have that uncomfortable conversation with a friend or family member where you need to apologize and ask forgiveness for some hurt you have caused. Or maybe He is telling you to forgive someone for the pain they have caused you. The easy road for you could be to just join another serving team at church, and make yourself so busy that you don’t have to hear God’s voice encouraging you to do this.

Another example might be that God is asking you to communicate the gospel to a friend who is lost. But out of fear, you replace that with something like giving a little extra in the offering on Sunday.

I say all this as someone who really struggles with distraction. My default distractions are busyness and accomplishment. God starts pushing me into areas that are too uncomfortable, and I immediately start making my to-do list of good deeds. I need to pray for these 3 people, give to those 2 people, and serve on one more team at church. It’s as if somehow I believe that these things will fix the internal imperfections that I don’t want to face by moving forward in what God has for me. It is easier to run around completing tasks than it is to stop and listen for God’s instruction.

But we are so blessed to have such a loving Father who is patient with us, and will continue to pursue us. Just like the mother in the earlier example who knocked on her son’s door, our God says to us, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20 NIV).
God loves us, and He knows far better than we do what is best for us. He wants to see us flourish. He is not encouraging us to take uncomfortable steps in our lives so He can watch us struggle. In fact, He promises that He will take those steps with us, and that we don’t have to be afraid. Today all I am asking you to do is STOP! Put aside the distractions for a minute. Put away the cell phone, the laptop and whatever else has your attention. Lean into God, and listen long enough and intently enough for Him to direct your steps for the day.

“Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you; O Israel, if you would listen to Me” – Psalm 81:8

Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” – Luke 9:35

God Cares For You

People often question if God cares. With everything that each of us go through in our lives, sometimes it seems like He isn’t even there. In my life I have been through seasons where I have felt this way. However, as I read through God’s word; I always find verses that reminds me that He is there for me. The verse I am sharing on this post today is one that has recently spoke to me on this topic and after studying it I really began noticing that God was helping me through the season I was in.

“Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7

Humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand
Humility is one of the most important keys in our relationship with God. James 4:6 says that God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Without first acknowledging that we need God we may never give Him room to step in to act on our behalf. When we go through difficult seasons we need to humbly surrender to God instead of becoming pridefully closed off.

He may lift you up in due time
Notice that this part of the verse says in due time. We always want to get out of difficult situations right away. However, some situations that happen in our lives are very important for us to go through. James 1:2-3 says to consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. God can see the bigger picture that we often cannot see. We look at the one struggle that we are in and we want to be out of it immediately. God can look much further into our futures and see the benefit that will come from the struggle that we are in; we just need to trust that His timing will be better than ours.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you
This last part of the verse is the most comforting part. No matter what we are going through, if we remember that when we start feeling anxious to just run to God, He will be there with open arms because He cares for each of us. John 3:16 says for God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son. God gave His son so He could have a closer relationship with each of us. God cares even when we may not feel Him there. Although there may be an important reason for a difficult situation to play our in our lives, if we run to God, He will still comfort us in the storm that we are facing.
If you take one thing out of this post today, just remember that God cares for you more than you even know. He will be there in the good times and the bad, no matter how bad things get, no matter how far you turn from Him, He will always be there with open arms. I have seen this to be true in my life.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Struggling Is a Landmark, Not a Roadblock.

Alex Sanfilippo

Every human being goes through seasons of struggling in their lives; it is something that we all have in common. Difficult times will look different for each of us. We are all in 1 of these 3 categories: In a difficult season, about to be in one, or just coming out of one. Super negative, right? From the world’s perspective, it sure is! But what about God’s perspective?

In my early twenties, my tendency was to give up and go a different direction when a difficult situation would present itself. When there was a ‘struggle’ I’d search for another way. However, as I grew in my relationship with God, I learned to persevere through these times of difficulty. Once I started persevering and refusing to just give up, I realized that I experience the growth in my life during my struggles. You cannot get where you need to be without going through the trials of today.

God has taught me over the last few years that my struggles are not roadblocks, they are actually landmarks. These struggles are things that I need to face in order to become who I am supposed to be in Him. Once I really started to understand that the struggles were a necessity for growth, two things happened:

1. I found myself deciding that I had to face them head on and remain positive in doing so.
2. After the victory, I found myself saying things like this: “That was the moment when change and growth started. That is what taught me the skills I needed in order to be where I am today.”

Since this principle has become part of who I am, I have grown so much! God has started using me to help others who are going through similar situations. All of this is possible only because instead of just giving up or turning a different direction, I trusted God and stayed faithful to Him. I continued to walk the way that He has called me to walk during those seasons.R

My perspective on difficult situations has been forever changed! I can’t begin to explain the amount of growth that I have experienced because of this.

I write this post today not to boast about being able to get through difficult situations, but instead to encourage you to do the same; press on! Start viewing struggling as a landmark, not a roadblock! James 1:2-4 has been a foundational verse for me on this topic:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” – James 1:2-4

I encourage you today, no matter what you are struggling with, remember that it truly is a landmark, one day you will look back and say: “That was the situation that God used to grow me.” Pray for God to give you the grace to persevere through whatever it is that you may be going through. Remember that He loves and cares for you and will help you as long as you remain faithful to Him.

Struggling is a landmark, not a roadblock. Press on through the time of testing and gain the testimony that will enable you to help others in the future!

Life Isn’t About Waiting For The Storm To Pass, It’s Learning To Dance In The Rain.

By: CHARLES HAMRICK

I read a quote in a friends email today that you have heard, but I am going to steal and share in this post.  It read, “Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.”

As I do with most things I related this to sports.  Golf and Football come to mind when I think of sports that you have to know how to play in the rain.  They only stop when there is lighting and thus there needs to be practice for how to compete in these conditions.  For football, I know that teams use “wet ball” drills and make it a point to practice when it is actually raining outside.  In golf, it is being prepared with the right equipment (rain gear, gloves, etc).

In both cases, it is a very different way of playing the game that you may have learned in perfect or near perfect conditions.  While I don’t prefer playing in the rain, understand that sometimes it just has to be done.

God calls us to “dance in the rain” through the storms of life.  Being a follower of Christ is not always Sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows (random Leslie Gore reference).  But just because it isn’t perfect weather, doesn’t mean that we need to run inside and not continue to play this game that we love (Following Christ).  Satan wants to push you inside and have you not share the love of Jesus with others.  I promise you that storms will come in your life, and there will be times that you don’t feel like being a Christ Follower.  Maybe that’s right now.  But in those moments, I encourage you to remember that Jesus came before us, and gave us a great road map of how to dance in the rain and make it through the storms and struggles we encounter.  The more you do this the stronger you will get and you will begin to welcome the storms in your life.

 James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Comparing Your Life to Other People’s Lives – It’s a Trap!

Man comparing two measurements

It’s easy to get caught in thinking you are the only one facing a momentary challenge in your life or long-running adversity, the only one with unanswered questions, or the only one who hasn’t figured out how to create the balance, health, relationships, finances or career success you want.

But that’s actually not the case.

Everyone faces challenges!

Everyone has unanswered questions of some sort. Everyone is working out how to create what they want. Everyone is evolving in their own unique way, at their own pace.

One way you are conditioned to feel like you’re the only one with challenges is that you are led to believe everyone else “has got it together” because most people are only showing the sanitized and happy aspects of their life to the world – on social media, in social situations, and in conversation.

Many people keep the dark moments to themselves or sharing only with those trusted and loved people closest to them. That is natural and of course in many cases quite appropriate. But it leads you into a false perspective of your own situation in relation to others.

You can easily get lost in comparison, and end up feeling alone and isolated in your challenges from this perspective. Comparing your worst day with someone else’s best day will never bring you peace.C

No one else on this planet is going to unfold in their life like you are. No one. No one else is uniquely like you. You cannot be compared. What you most need to understand when you go into comparison mode in your mind, is that you channel all of your energy away from your own creative processes. Instead of focusing your thoughts and feelings and actions on creating outcomes for yourself, you focus all of your attention to someone else and what they are creating for themselves. This leaves you no power and it is also a complete waste of your precious energy.

Just because unhealthy comparison doesn’t serve you, does not mean you can’t genuinely observe and admire the success of another person. This is actually uplifting – feeling joy for all they are being and creating. You may well feel inspired into the ongoing possibilities for yourself by witnessing them flourishing. You may see opportunities to learn from what they are doing. You may be able to apply that learning in your own path, in your own unique way, aligned with your passions, inspirations, and intuition, to aid your success.

And… you will always clearly know the difference between this form of positive observation and learning, versus pure painful comparison. The former leaves you feeling uplifted and excited, and the latter leaves you feeling sad, frustrated and deflated.

Listen to the messages your feelings are giving you.

Stop taking the easy road of distraction, and choose the more challenging path of obedience.

At first glance, when reading the title of this blog, it may seem that the two words “distraction” and “obedience” do not have much of a correlation. It would make sense to say that if a person is distracted, then they are not choosing to disobey. In other words, is a distracted person willfully choosing not to obey if they have never actually heard a command?

I would argue that the answer is yes. If you don’t agree with me, then consider this example. A boy comes home from school, and knows that most days there is a list of chores on the kitchen counter or the fridge for him to complete. The mother leaves the list in the kitchen, because she knows that her son goes in there every day for a snack when school is over. One day, that child wises up and realizes that if he just doesn’t go in the kitchen, then he won’t have to do any chores. He decides that he can forego his usual snack, and then he can go up in his room, lock the door, put headphones on, and play video games. Then he won’t be able to hear his mom when she is calling for him to come do the chores. The crazy part is that he actually thinks that this will somehow relieve him of his responsibility, and that his mom won’t come up stairs and knock on that door until he answers. In fact, she will probably kick it in if he keeps her waiting too long.

How often do we play this same game with God!? Personally, I am so guilty of this. This is something I have to constantly rely on God to help me with. When things start to get hard, and He is maneuvering me into areas that are getting more and more uncomfortable, I have a tendency to want to distract myself so I don’t hear his voice. I will distract myself with good things! Then I reason out why it is okay to be so distracted, because I am distracted by things like work, ministry, Christian movies and Christian music. At least I am not distracted by bad things like drugs and alcohol right?

The hard answer to this is that distractions are distractions no matter what the form, especially if they are keeping us from God. If that thing is keeping us from hearing His voice and obeying, then it is not benefiting us. It is merely a distraction that we are purposefully giving our attention to, because we are afraid of what God has for us.

For example, God might be impressing upon you that the most important thing in your life right now is to have that uncomfortable conversation with a friend or family member where you need to apologize and ask forgiveness for some hurt you have caused. Or maybe He is telling you to forgive someone for the pain they have caused you. The easy road for you could be to just join another serving team at church, and make yourself so busy that you don’t have to hear God’s voice encouraging you to do this.

Another example might be that God is asking you to communicate the gospel to a friend who is lost. But out of fear, you replace that with something like giving a little extra in the offering on Sunday.

I say all this as someone who really struggles with distraction. My default distractions are busyness and accomplishment. God starts pushing me into areas that are too uncomfortable, and I immediately start making my to-do list of good deeds. I need to pray for these 3 people, give to those 2 people, and serve on one more team at church. It’s as if somehow I believe that these things will fix the internal imperfections that I don’t want to face by moving forward in what God has for me. It is easier to run around completing tasks than it is to stop and listen for God’s instruction.

But we are so blessed to have such a loving Father who is patient with us, and will continue to pursue us. Just like the mother in the earlier example who knocked on her son’s door, our God says to us, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Revelation 3:20 NIV).

God loves us, and He knows far better than we do what is best for us. He wants to see us flourish. He is not encouraging us to take uncomfortable steps in our lives so He can watch us struggle. In fact, He promises that He will take those steps with us, and that we don’t have to be afraid. Today all I am asking you to do is STOP! Put aside the distractions for a minute. Put away the cell phone, the laptop and whatever else has your attention. Lean into God, and listen long enough and intently enough for Him to direct your steps for the day.

“Hear, O My people, and I will admonish you; O Israel, if you would listen to Me” – Psalm 81:8

Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!” – Luke 9:35

The Situation Analysis Of Life

After Secondary School..
All your classmates have gone in different directions in the world.

Some have completed universities and are now:
Doctors,
Engineers,
Teachers,
Pilots,
Lawyers,
Administrators, etc.

Some are married,
Some have given birth,
Some are still searching and waiting on the Lord.
Some are dead, don’t forget that too.

And others are on the sick bed,
Some are running their higher degrees: Masters, PHD, etc.

Some haven’t even gained admission into the tertiary institution and may NEVER be able to.

Some own companies,
Some are now Directors and major shareholders in global companies.

But how do you feel
When you meet your classmates, and it seems like he/she has accomplished their dreams and you’re not yet close to yours?
So many thoughts run through your mind, right?
First, you think God has not been fair to you.

How about the ones you meet on the street wearing dirty cloths and still struggling for survival ?
Do you get the same thoughts running through your mind?
I guess, NO.

Don’t forget too that some are already dead.
Somehow it feels natural to have that feeling of jealous for those mates who seem better off, but it is really unnecessary.

There is no room for regrets,
We are all different and our paths to greatness are also not the same in distance.

Some might have arrived earlier before you and some after you, but whatever level you find yourself in life,
Please keep trying to break limitations and move further.

Celebrate the success of others, its an indication that yours too shall surely come.

Your friend buys a car now, be happy with him/ her.
Remember when you’ll buy yours,
theirs might not be the latest again.
There’s no permanent champion, but current champion.

Life is not about competition, do not be in a race with anyone; remember, we may seem to be reading the same book but different chapters at different times.

Don’t let the passion in you kill the desire in you, keep it burning.

What you’re passing through today;
Write it down because one day the world would be ready to read it, they’ll become part of your success story.

There’s no height you cannot attain, believe in yourself, define your goals, recognize distractions and don’t stop striving.

Spend time teaching yourself, because those things that mainly take people to the top are the things they devoted their time to develop.

Don’t be intimidated by your friend’s success, the sky is wide enough for birds to fly without touching one another.

Value every little thing that God brings into your life, love God and obey Him.
For with God, all things are possible.

Now to those who are on top Never forget to give a helping hand to those who are down. Because Life is full of uncertainties; the one you pull up today, may be the one to hold your hands and prevent you from falling tomorrow

A piece of advice there, food for thought

Please share, comment and like this to all your friends and let them realize that God has a purpose in their lives.

God bless you.

Things You Learn When Life Doesn’t Turn Out The Way You Wanted

We often grow up with an idea of what our life will look like when we are at a certain age, more often than not, it is a realistic image, and more often than not, life doesn’t necessarily mirror the image we had for it. At that moment, we can feel inadequate, we can feel like a failure and we can feel that we failed to create the life we want or deserve, but if we take a closer look sometimes the magic is in the journey rather than the destination, it is in the lessons we learn along the way and the changes we have to go through to become the best versions of ourselves.

My life didn’t turn out to be anything like I imagined, in fact the image I had for my life doesn’t even come close to what it is now, and even though I do have my days when I brood about it and wonder where I went wrong, I still smile when I look back at the things I learned when the pieces of the puzzle didn’t fit.

1. You Learn To Steer The Wheel In Another Direction

You know how the saying goes “If you don’t bend you will break” You will find yourself face to face with your fears and your worst nightmares, but you will have to face them, even if you don’t win, even if you fall short, even if you will never be the same person again, you will navigate through them to reach your destination. It is exactly like driving, sometimes you get lost, sometimes you take roads you don’t want to take, sometimes you drive alone at night and it can get scary, sometimes you will have to stop at a red light even though you can’t wait to go home, sometimes you will get into an accident and it may or may not be your fault, but the key will always be to keep driving and steer the wheel in another direction, whatever direction leads you back home.

2. You Will Be Forced To Look Within For Validation

If you are a people person like myself, you get your energy and your validation from those around you, you always wonder do they like me? Did I say the right thing? Are they going to speak well about me? Does my boss think I’m smart enough? Will this man stay or will he get bored and leave? You constantly expend your energy on those around you and that sometimes can be the demise of your own identity and personal growth. This may sound like a cliché but it is true, the best way to use your energy is to consume it on yourself first, and be in touch with who you are regardless of what those around you think of you. You have to embrace your flaws and shortcomings while working on them rather than seek validation from those around you. It helps when someone sees something good in us that we ceased to believe and it helps when someone picks us up when we fall, but at the end of the day, it is temporary relief. If you want long-term relief, you need to seek validation from yourself first and welcome the validation of others second, but you should always come first.

3. You Might Want To Reconnect With God

“When we have nothing left but God, we discover that God is enough.” This is one of my favorite quotes to sum up faith and life too. When things don’t go as planned, and when life gets hard, it is easy to sink in a dark hole and drown in a sea of anger, negativity and despair; also known as rock bottom. The good thing about hitting rock bottom is the fact that it allows you to reach to a higher power, ask for help, pray and seek guidance from the creator. If it takes a toll on your faith, let me assure you that you will not make it out of rock bottom easily, however if you use it as a tool to reconnect with God and strengthen your faith and the belief that God has a better plan for you and that his plans will make you happier than you ever thought you will be, you will be just fine. God sometimes gives us what we need rather than what we want, sometimes it is best not to ask questions and try to go against the ebb and flow of what God brings to our life, sometimes it is better to look up and say I know you got this, let go and keep the faith.

4.You Are Going To Lose Some People

It is a part of life, the more you know who you are and seek validation from within, the more people you are going to lose. Some people will not like it, some people will try to bring you back down, some people will hurt you, some people will walk away, some people will give up on you, and others will stab you right in the face. Only a few good ones will stick around and respect the transition, those people are the ones that are in your life to stay and will help you become your best self. I must say this is the hardest lesson, it doesn’t only require strength and self-control, it requires you to never look back, to close some doors that you so wanted to remain open. The hardest part is not letting them go, the hardest part is letting them go knowing you will not let them back in again, knowing that deep in your heart this person will cause you more damage than good and they have to go. In some cases, losing is winning.

5. It Will Make You A Better Person

Finally, when your life doesn’t turn out the way you wished for, it will humble you. It will make you a kinder person, a more sympathetic person, a wiser person, a stronger person, a less judgmental person, a deeper person, or simply it will make you human. You will learn that you can’t be perfect and you never will be, you will learn that you will fail at things you thought you were good at, you will learn that you can be hard to love sometimes, you will learn that you have bipolar tendencies, you will learn that you cannot control your surroundings and you cannot make someone change or someone love you. You will learn to accept your fate and stop trying to change it. You will learn that life will scar you, and it will hurt you but it will also surprise you-sometimes in a good way, and one day you will look back and be able to connect the dots, one day you will look back and make sense of all the confusion, one day you will surprise yourself when you look at the image you had for your life and realize that it doesn’t resonate with you anymore and it doesn’t matter.

When You Think Life Sucks: Do These Things

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Beecher Stowe

Life is not always great.

At times it may not even feel OK.
When you’ve had several setbacks in a row, bad luck or things aren’t going your way – even though you do your best – then it may feel like: my life simply and honestly sucks.
I think most of us have had days and likely longer periods like weeks or months when we’ve thought about life like this and felt pretty glum and like there’s a personal little rain cloud over your head.

What can u do when that happens?
In this article I’d like to share 10 things that have helped me when I’ve asked myself: why does my life suck?
I hope you find something here that’ll help you out. THE POSITIVITY BLOG

1. It’s OK to feel frustrated (but know how to handle it so you don’t get stuck).

When things aren’t going your way then you sometimes get frustrated. That’s natural and OK. So instead of trying to push these emotions away accept and process them.

But also know how to not get stuck in them because then they’ll just suck a lot of energy and time from your week.
One thing that helps me to reduce that frustration so I can move forward once again is to stop my thoughts from bouncing around in the past or a possible future by reconnecting with this moment.

Two of my favorite ways for doing that are to:
Focus on my breathing. I sit down with closed eyes and then just focus on the air going in and out of my nose. I do that for 1-2 minutes while making sure that I take calm and slightly deep breathes than I usually do and I breathe with my belly (and not my chest).
Focus on what is around me for 1-2 minutes. The people going by out on the street. The slight draft from one of the windows. The warmth from the radiator. The snow slowly falling outside my window and the soft clothes on my skin. This brings my attention fully back to what is here right now.
By doing one of these things for just that tiny amount of time I calm down and it becomes easier to focus and to think clearly again. I then follow that up with the next habit in this article.

2. Tap into gratitude for the simplest of things.

This is usually my next step when I want to reduce frustration. But it works well on its own too when you feel like life sucks. Because during those times it’s easy to go from feeling sorry for yourself for a while into full on victim thinking that lasts for too long and drags you down. I find that zooming out a bit during these times helps.

So I ask myself: what are 3 simple things that I can still be grateful for having in my life?

A handful of answers that I tend tocome back to often are at least partly things that are basic for me but many out there in the world still don’t have access to. Like for example:
A roof over my head and a warm home.
Plenty of drinkable water. I don’t have to go hungry. The simple pleasures of life like a sunset or a relaxing walk in the woods. My family and friends.

3. Focus more on the small how-tos and less on the whys.

Processing what happened and what you feel is certainly important. But instead of taking the common route of dwelling on the whys of the negative situation 80% of the time and looking for solutions 20% of the time switch those numbers around. Spend more of your time on finding the small and practical steps you can take to make things better (even if it’s just a little better at this time). By doing so you’ll start to feel more confident and less suffocated and paralyzed as you are moving forward once again.

4. Reminder: This is temporary. And there is a brand new day tomorrow.

Just because this day or the last week didn’t go well doesn’t mean that there is not a brand new day tomorrow. A day when you can start fresh. With taking action to move towards what you want, likely having a bit more luck and when it will be easier to see that this difficult time is only temporary and not permanent (even if it might feel that way right now).

5. Ask yourself: What is going well in my life though?

It is very easy to get stuck in focusing on the negative things when you start thinking that life or your week or month isn’t going well. But don’t forget that there are still things that are going well in your life. It may be small things.
When I had several setbacks last year I asked myself this question and it helped me to open up my mind and to not get too focused on only the things that weren’t going so well. By opening my mind I could see that many vital things like my small business, my exercise habit and flossing habit were indeed going well and that several fun things had happened recently too.

6. Setbacks can be very valuable if I let them.

I know this may sound like a cliche. And when I’m having a tough time then it’s not what I usually like to hear. But at the same time I must admit that it’s often true. And it’s an important thing for me to reminder myself of because it reduces the pain I feel from a setback since I know that this shall pass and that I will usually get something good out of it in the end. Now, a common way of looking at failures, mistakes and obstacles on yourjourney is of course as something negative and as things that should be avoided. But trying to actively avoid them at any price usually leads to analysis paralysis and a lack of taking any significant action at all.
And the setbacks and mistakes in life can indeed be very helpful. If you let them. So before you start moving on from one of them ask yourself:
What is one thing I can learn from this situation?

How can I adjust my course to avoid this trap/making the same mistake and to likely do better the next time?
These questions have helped me to improve a lot about how I do things in life and to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.

7. Reminder: It’s OK to have a bad day.

Sometimes a bad day will just be a bad day. Even if you use a couple of the previous tips and strategies.
Because no matter what you do, life will never be perfect, awesome or peaceful all the time. It will still have natural valleys even if you adopt many new and positive habits .

And that’s OK.

But here’s the upside…

If you actually accept that this is howlife is from time to time – and you stop clinging to a dream of perfection – then your life will become lighter and simpler and you’ll be less stressed out and able to more constructively handle that bad day when it does show up on your doorstep.

8. Let it out.

Keeping things bottled up and not letting them out makes it – in my experience – easier to start making mountains out of molehills. And unbeatable nightmares out of things that do genuinely suck. So let what is weighing on you out. You can do it by:
Talking it over with someone close to you. Maybe you just need to vent and to figure things out for yourself as he or she listens. Or maybe the two of you can talk it through to ground the situation in reality. And to come up with the start of a plan for what you can do. Writing about it in a journal. Just letting your thoughts, worries and emotions out on paper or a computer screen can be a relief. And it can help you to start structuring things, to think things through and to start seeing possible solutions or small steps you can take.

9. Work it out.

When things are bad and you cannot think yourself out of the state of mind that it leads you to then take another route. Stop using your head and start usingyour body. Go for a walk in the wintery landscape.Play badminton or soccer with friends. Head to the gym and work out in someway. Will the situation perhaps still suck when you get back? Yes. But maybe less so than you first thought. Because now you have less inner tensions and renewed mental clarity and energy. I have found in my own life that this makes a huge difference to change my perspective and to start working myself out of a negative situation.

10. It’s always darkest before the dawn.

This thought helped me to hold onwhen things looked bleak for many months and to keep going when my social skills and dating life was just plain bad. It helped me to keep going when things looked like they would never pick up for my own small online business.
Why? Because I have found it to be true. When things seemed to be at the lowest point something always happened. Often because being at that low point forced me to change something in how I did things. But maybe also because life seems to have some kind of balance if I just keep going. If I keep taking action instead of giving up and doing nothing then something good always happens. Seeing this repeat itself year after year strengthened my belief in taking action and to keep going even on rough days or weeks. And it brings some comfort even when things look pretty dark.

Staying Strong During Life Challenges: A Reminder

If life challenges are knocking on your door, or they’ve already moved on in and seem to be making themselves at home, these are 6 empowering reminders I researched for you.

Tune in, because it’s time for you to rise up strong…

#1

You have A 100% track record for getting through everything in your life.

You’re doing pretty awesome!

You’re still breathing, heart beating, and you have what it takes to walk ahead powerfully.

Remind yourself every day – “I will be okay. Everything will be okay. I always get through somehow. I trust this.”

#2

This too shall pass.

Challenges are like storms that arrive in your life, like a weather pattern. Storms have a life span. And your life span is longer than its!

The storm will come and it will go, and you will outlive it.

Remember, this is a season. Like everything in life, it will eventually pass. Thoughts pass. Feelings pass. Challenges pass.

Be patient and trust.

#3

Diamonds are made under pressure, and so are you. Your challenges will be the making of you.

Life challenges pressuring you are softening your rough edges, calling you to evolve, buffering you to expose the power and beauty you have.

On the other side of this challenge, you will shine again, brighter than before.

#4

All challenges morph into wisdom.

This is the gift that challenges bring. They come to offer you something.

Whatever you get out of a challenge in the form of greater understanding, skills and life wisdom, you will not only use in future (as a handy side benefit) but you will NEED in future.

There is Divine Order in your life. Maybe you don’t know yet what this life challenge is gifting you, or maybe you do. Maybe you don’t know yet what this wisdom is for, but you will find out soon enough!

Perhaps the wisdom is to support something you will DO in the future. Perhaps it is to help you SHARE that wisdom with someone else in your life, to uplift them on their journey. You needn’t be concerned about why you’re being given this wisdom, only that it is has purpose.

The Universe/Divinity (whatever word you use to describe a higher power at play in your life)… it moves us across each others life paths, in right time and right order. We end up learning through challenges and then being called forth into work, career, vocations, relationships, situations and places in order that we can contribute through the wisdom we have gained.

There is purpose to what you are going through. Trust this.

#5

Sometimes things fall apart so that better things can fall together

That’s actually a Marilyn Monroe quote!

Remember that when it feels like life is falling apart, sometimes it’s actually life’s way of spring cleaning you (and your circumstances) to prepare you for the coming summer season of your life.

So even though it’s tempting to think that life is beating down on you, pause to consider if maybe the slate is being wiped clean in order that something better can form.

#6

What we resist persists. So, it’s vital TO let go and flow.

Use this mantra on a daily basis… “This is happening, and I choose peace.”

Your attitude is EVERYTHING when it comes to staying strong. You will either become a victim to what is happening or you will rise up and be a victor.

The choice is yours, and it all starts in your mindset.

I hope these reminders are helpful for whatever life challenges you might be going through now, or that you may face on your forward journey.

Source: The Daily Positive