Tag: faith

Happiness For Sale?

Happiness For Sale?

The age-old question is: “can money buy happiness?”

Money cannot buy happiness because happiness is not for sale. 

Have you seen it in a jar, box, or bottle on the grocery store shelves?

Is it hanging on a department store rack?

Can you order it online?

What wholesale vendor can you place an order with?

Money can buy material things, trips, and pay off debt, which may bring a fleeting “sense” of happiness.

In the market for the authentic?  It’s free!

True and lasting happiness comes from within (knowing, accepting, and loving ourselves) and begins with a relationship with our Creator.   

The Other Fruit

The Other Fruit

It is common knowledge that fruit is good for us.  For us to maintain a well-balanced diet it is recommended that we eat four servings of this food group daily.  Weight loss coaches encourage us to replace the chips, cookies, and other less healthy snacks with an apple, orange, or berries.    Studies show that certain fruits are helpful in preventing and minimizing the symptoms of certain ailments such as lemons for digestive tract issues and cherries for inflammatory pain relief.

While it is a proven fact that fruit is indeed good for our bodies, it doesn’t end there.  Fruit is essential for our spirit as well.  “How so?” you ask.  Galatians 5:22-23(NIV) lists the fruit that should be a regular part of every Christian’s diet:  love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

We cannot purchase this fruit in a grocery store or a farmer’s market and although we can find just about everything at Wal-Mart, we won’t find it there either.  The fruit that is spoken of in these Galatian verses, doesn’t come from outside of us but is produced in us by the Holy Spirit.  The key word in the sentence above is produced.  We aren’t born with the “fruit of the Spirit”; It begins to grow in us when we receive salvation and begin to live for Christ.  As we continuously grow in our relationship with God, the fruit continuously grows within us.

When we are driving down the road and see the big yellow “M” we recognize that there’s a McDonald’s nearby.   Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on the situation, our kids recognize it too.  When we see the swoosh symbol we know the shoes or garment is a Nike product.  These logos do what they were designed to do, they make their brand easily identifiable.   Likewise, when others see love, joy, peace and the other six fruits in us, they recognize us as followers of Christ.

Follow the recommended dietary allowance and get your daily four, but while you’re filling up on apples, bananas, and pears, don’t forget about the other fruit.  Make sure you get these nine nutrients too:   love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  The fruit that feeds our spirit.

No Sacrifice, No Reward

No Sacrifice, No Reward

This past Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent.  For those who may not already know, Lent is a 40 day period prior to Easter, in which Christians and others choose something to sacrifice and focus on drawing closer to God.  This something can be a food or drink such as sweets, sodas, or alcohol and/or television, electronics, or social media.  Whatever equates to a sacrifice for you personally.

I believe we can learn a lot from this Lenten spirit of sacrifice.  In a society that “wants it all”  It is important to make note of and remember that reward does not come without sacrifice.

We have to be willing to give up something(s) for our greater good.  It may be time, a hindering habit, wrong attitude(towards others or self), or it may very well be a somebody rather than a something that we have to release.

What are you willing to sacrifice during this season and afterwards?  Remember:  no sacrifice, no reward.

The Big Comeback

The Big Comeback

Normally I am not a Falcons fan, but since my team wasn’t in it, I pulled for the South.  I have never been a Patriot’s supporter, but I must give honor where honor is due.

Tom Brady and team were the epitome of “keeping their eyes on the prize” and “fighting until the bitter end.”  The Patriots trailed most of the Super Bowl game and many began to count them out.  They didn’t let the doubts of others make them doubt themselves however.  The team stayed in the game both physically and mentally.  Just when we thought they were down for the count, they made a comeback.

Not only did they win the Super Bowl, but they made history thrice:  this was the first time a Super Bowl game went into overtime, their 25 point deficit was the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, and Tom Brady became the 1st quarterback to win 5 Super Bowl titles.

Lessons learned:  Don’t doubt yourself, doubt your doubters, Don’t give up no matter what it looks like right now, and it’s not over until it’s OVER.

The Sun Will Shine Again

The Sun Will Shine Again

Today started out with gloominess and rain and then suddenly the skies cleared and the sun made an appearance, erasing the memories of the dreariness that preceded it.  Isn’t this just like life?  We’re going through a storm then suddenly it’s over, things are good again and that’s all that matters.

A couple of hours later the skies grew dark again and it looked like the rain would return.  Similar to life, sometimes we think the tides have turned, only to have them to reverse.  We can take heart however, and be encouraged during the gloomy, rainy seasons.  Just as the sun emerged from the darkness the first time, it will shine again.

Stay in the Race

Stay in the Race

The first week of 2017 is ending.  Resolution makers are you still resolved?  Goal setters are you still striving?  Hopefully you were able to start strong and are happily on your way.

Normally it’s not the start of something that is problematic, nor the end of it, but it’s the middle part that is difficult.  We start strong, we know what our desired end is, and we have a plan on how to get there, but……….

  • Naysayers say this
  • Negative thoughts take over
  • What Ifs pop up
  • Obstacles try to block us
  • Time seems short

How do I get past the ‘middle stuff’ to make it to the finish line?

  • Tune those naysayers out or politely tell them to shut up
  • Conquer those negative thoughts with positive thoughts, prayer, and affirmations
  • Ignore the What Ifs; You know that there are not many guarantees in life, but if you do nothing, you are guaranteed not to succeed
  • Lean on your defense (God) when the obstacles try to block you; He will get you around them, over them, or through them
  • Any productive time applied towards your goal is better than no time, so prioritize and manage your time wisely

Remember “the race is not given to the swift nor the strong, but to the one who endures to the end”(Ecclesiastes 9:11).  Stay in the race!

No Pity Party Here

No Pity Party Here

I’ve had this quote from Joel Osteen in the back of my mind since last week:  “Don’t be pitiful  when you can be powerful”.  I posted it on my Facebook page on Tuesday and it has had a grip on me since.

Pitiful or powerful?  You mean we can choose?  Yes!!!  In spite of any situation or circumstance that we are going through, we can choose to not allow it to pull us down and keep us in the abyss of pity, but instead to get up and stand strong in spite of….  Is it just that simple?  Again the answer is yes.

The first and most important step is to make up in our mind that we want to be powerful and not pitiful.  Then we strive to walk in this choice daily, by making decisions and taking actions that align with it.

What does this look like in action?  You lose a job:  Instead of panicking and going into depressed mode, you look at it as an opportunity to explore and obtain a new career.  Facing the end of a relationship:  Don’t allow the negative energy of anger and sadness to overtake you, instead turn it into something positive.  Use this as a time to reflect and grow as an individual, take a class, find a new hobby, spend some time with people you may have neglected during your relationship.  Death:  We all know that it’s inevitable and often without warning, but that doesn’t stop the pain and grief that it brings.  How can we turn the grief from pity to power?  One way is to find a way to honor the lost loved one.  This can be as simple as choosing to live a good life.  Other suggestions include:  becoming a donor to or volunteer at their favorite charitable organization, establishing a scholarship in their name, or doing something that they wanted to do, but never had the chance to.  Find something that you know would make them smile at you from heaven.

The next time life throws you a curve ball, as it will, don’t let it knock you down, catch it and stand strong in your power.

In Training

A prospective runner doesn’t just jump right into a marathon, to do so would be setting him or herself up for failure.  Instead, he/she trains and participates in smaller races first, in order to build up strength and endurance.  Likewise, believers are tested through various trials and temptations, not as a means of elimination, but in order to strengthen our faith and build up our endurance.  Additionally, these tests of faith develop spiritual maturity and wisdom in us.  All necessities for us to finish our race.  God didn’t blind side us with this.  We are forewarned that we will have tribulation (John 16:33, Romans 5:3) and that trials will come (James 1:2, 1 Peter 4:12, 1 Peter 1:7).  However, we receive encouragement in the fact that, before we even approach the finish line, we already know that we win, if we don’t quit beforehand.  Our prize?  The crown of life.