Don’t make excuses. Don’t go through life thinking, I’ve got a disadvantage. I’ve got too many obstacles. I’m the wrong nationality. I come from the wrong family. I don’t have the connections. I could never get out of this environment. You may not see how you will rise above, but God sees. Your destiny is not determined by how you were raised, or by your circumstances, or by how many odds are against you. If you take what God has given you and make the most of it, God will open doors.
Quit fighting to go somewhere else. Be the best you can be right where you are. Bloom where you’re planted.
If you have people in your life to love, you are rich. If you have your health, you are rich. If you can hear your children/grandchildren’s footsteps coming down the stairs, you are rich. Maintain the proper perspective. Slow down and enjoy the simple things in life. Slow down and enjoy the journey. There will always be another dream, another goal, and another challenge. Take time for what matters most.
It’s not that life is so short, it’s that we wait so long to begin. Why don’t you begin today? We’re not here forever. It’s good to work hard, but learn how to turn it off. If you’ll make the decision to slow down and enjoy the journey, you will experience the fullness of what God has in store for you.
I’ve found that we create much of our own unhappiness. We see what’s wrong rather than what’s right. We look at what we don’t have rather than what we do have. We often don’t celebrate each day and we don’t appreciate the gift that God has given us. I heard of a man that had been in the car industry and God had blessed him in a great way. But his wife was in the manufacturing business. When asked what the wife manufactured, her husband said, “She manufactures unhappiness!” “She’s unhappy everywhere she goes.”
You may need to change businesses, not physically but mentally. Get out of the business of manufacturing unhappiness. Quit dwelling on what’s wrong. Quit seeing the faults and start seeing the good. Start being grateful for what you have. Appreciate the gift of today.
Some people will condemn you no matter what you do. Even if you changed and did everything they asked of you, they would still find fault. Ignore your critics. You don’t need their approval. Stay on the high road. They will try and take you down. God will take you up. Crows love to pester eagles. The eagle is much larger, but the crow is more agile so it can turn and maneuver more quickly. At times the crow will come up behind the eagle and dive-bomb the big bird. But the eagle knows this secret: It can fly at altitudes that the crow cannot fly, as high as twenty thousand feet.
Do the same when someone is pestering you out of jealousy or spite. Soar above! Mark 3:1-5 and 1st Samuel 10.
When you put God in first place and do your best to honor Him, you will come into happiness, (Deut. 28:2). That’s God rewarding you for walking in His ways. We see this principle in the Old Testament with Ruth. Every one of us can look back and see times where God has left us handfuls of blessings on purpose, something we didn’t deserve, we didn’t have to struggle for, we didn’t even ask for the blessing.
Don’t apologize for God’s goodness. Don’t downplay what God has done in your life. Don’t make excuses because a friend might be jealous. One key to happiness is to wear your blessings well. It’s from the goodness of God that we receive blessings. Psalm 118: 23.
When you get up in the morning and you’re tempted to dwell on your problems, perhaps you don’t want to go to work or you think life has not been fair. Why don’t you turn that around? Instead, thank God that you have no problem breathing? Why don’t you look out the window and appreciate the simple things like the sun coming up, the birds singing, and the flowers blooming?
Sometimes we think, my life is so routine, I just get up and go to work and come home... Nothing exciting is happening. I just do the same thing again and again. But we should be thankful for routine everyday life. There’s nothing ordinary about getting up and going to work. There is nothing ordinary about being able to see, having friends, or having family. Those are gifts from God. Too often we don’t realize how great we have it until something is taken away.
I read that the average child laughs more than two hundred times a day, but the average adult laughs fourteen to seventeen times daily. The pressures of life, stress, and more responsibilities steal our joy little by little as we grow older. Many adults are borderline grumpy a good part of the time. Know how to work, but also know how to play. A study said that one of the traits shared by those who live into their nineties is that they take joy in everyday life.
Laughter is the best medicine. There was a good-humored grandmother who lived to be 103 years old, as the story goes. When she went into the hospital at the age of 100, a friend of hers called to see what was wrong. “Well, so far they have ruled out pregnancy,” she said. Stay joyful.
We are Christ’s ambassadors. If we’re to represent God properly, we should do it with joy, with enthusiasm, with a smile. We are to be lights of the world. I believe the switch that turns on the lights is a smile. People certainly watch how we live. We are ‘read’ by all men. “Preach at all times; use words only when necessary.’ When people see you, what kind of message are they getting?
Are you guilty of being happy? Are you guilty of enjoying life? Are you guilty of living with enthusiasm? If so, you are high on the Most High.
If you’re complaining about where you are, you won’t get where you want to be.. To keep your life in perspective, try making a list of all the things you are grateful for. Write down ten things that God has blessed you with and put the list on your bathroom mirror. Every morning read over that list two or three times. Do the same every night before you go to bed?
Meditate on the good things. When you meditate on the goodness of God, it will help you have the right perspective. Focus on the good in your life, and stay focused on the Lord. Psalm 23:6
One of the battles we all have to fight is the battle with discouragement. Our dreams don’t always come true on our timetables. We go through disappointments and adversities. It’s easy to lose enthusiasm, happiness joy and zeal for life. In those times, it’s good to have family and friends who encourage us. But sometimes other people cannot keep us cheered up. They may give us a boost. They may help us from time to time. But we must learn to encourage ourselves.
Look at King David. According to the scriptures he had just suffered a major setback. His city was destroyed. His family had been kidnapped. And now his own men had turned against him. He could have easily given up and faded off into the sunset. But read and 1st Samuel 30:6. David understood the principle. He encouraged himself. He drew encouragement and strength from the inside. How did he do it?
He began to replay the victories God had given him in the past. As David rehearsed over and over in his mind the goodness and faithfulness of God, strength began to fill his heart. He created a new vision of victory. He went from being depressed and defeated to rising up with a positive mentality. And we can do the same?
Could it be the person you’ve been judgmental toward has a good reason for the way he/she is? You’re tempted to write them off, to be critical, but have you imagined walking in their shoes? Do you know what battles they have fought? Even if they are wrong, God did not put us here to condemn them. They need our mercy, our forgiveness, and our understanding to get back on the right track. Being hard and critical doesn’t bring healing. We aren’t lifting people up. We just push them further down.
Our churches should not be museums to put us on display, for we are not perfect. Our churches should be hospitals to help the hurting and the lonely. Read Luke 5:31.
Don’t take now for granted. Your family needs what you have. They need your smile, your encouragement, your support, and your wisdom. They need to know you care and that they mean the world to you. It’s important not to just be in the house. Don’t just show up. Be involved. Be engaged. It’s easy to be too busy. But if you want the most out of life, draw the line and say, I’m slowing down and enjoying the journey. I’m not taking for granted what God has given me. I’m not being a workaholic, and I’m not missing the years when my children, my grandchildren, are growing up. I’m not living so stressed out that I can’t appreciate the simple things in life.
Don’t be surprised if things turn bad on you even as you do the right things, honor God, and work to be your best every day. It may not seem fair, but the enemy is spreading weeds among your wheat, just as was done to the farmer in Matthew 13:24-30. The good news is, those weeds do not have to keep you from serving God.
Remember, when you are close to victory, when you are on the verge of your greatest accomplishment and your greatest breakthrough, when you are about to go into harvest season, that’s when the unexpected challenges will pop up as the enemy tries to keep you from moving forward. God will take care of the weeds. You just keep doing your best to do what is right and please God.(Genesis 50:20). You may be in some turbulence right now, but God did not bring you this far to fail you.
When a jealous thought comes saying, Why do they get everything? They’re so smart. That’s not fair, recognize that thought is making the wrong sound. It may look good, you may be tempted to dwell on it, but your instincts should tell you that’s a toxic thought. If a thought comes telling you, You’re so sloppy. You can’t do anything right, it may be tempting to get you down on yourself, but don’t take the bait. Recognize those are poisonous thoughts. They will keep you from moving forward toward your life goals.
Be extremely aware of what you’re dwelling on. What thoughts are you allowing to take root? Poisonous or nonpoisonous? Helpful or hurtful? Be so trained in your thought life that you don’t take the enemy’s bait.
Forgive so you can be free. We all have unfair things happen to us. We can choose to cling to that hurt and let it destroy our day-to-day happiness and poison our futures, or we can choose to release the hurt and trust God. You may think you can’t forgive those who’ve hurt you. When we forgive others, we take away their power to hurt us. The mistake we make so often is to hold on to the hurt. We go around bitter and angry, but all we’re doing is allowing those who hurt us to control our lives.
Your life and future is too great to let what someone did to you keep you from moving forward. Quit replaying it in your memory. Quit giving it time and energy. You have a joyful life to claim. Every time you let past hurts consume your thoughts, you are just reopening an old wound. The story of Joseph and his brothers beginning in Genesis 37: 12 brings out this week’s thought, “Forgive So You Can Be Free.”
I have known “people builders.” They instinctively find ways to build others up. Being a people builder means you consistently find ways to invest in and bring out the best in others. You give without asking for anything in return. You offer advice, build their confidence, and challenge them to go higher. All they need is a little push, and a little encouragement. The fact is, none of us will reach our highest potential by ourselves. We need one another. You can be the one to tip the scales for someone else. You can be the one to stir up their seeds of greatness.
Too often, when we suffer some kind of rejection or disappointment, we get so discouraged that we settle right where we are. When disappointment or rejection knocks you down, get back up and go again. We give up too easily on our dreams. We need to understand that just as God opens doors, sometimes God closes doors. And when God closes a door, it’s always because He has something better in store.
So just because you’ve come to a dead end, that’s not the time to give up. Find a different route and keep pressing forward. Often, out of our greatest rejection comes our greatest direction.