Motivation

Have we become satisfied with our life, our church, our life in Christ? Many churches, not just individuals, are in the this very spot. Satisfaction with your salvation and your supposed life in Christ is something that we cannot live with! Why? Because satisfaction causes us to long for something or sometime which has already passed. Just as you cannot touch a part of a stream or river twice, memories and satisfaction with something, someone or sometime in your past cannot be brought into today.

Satisfaction and motivation are exact opposites of each other. When you are satisfied with what you have or where you are, you will never have more than you have right now. Motivation is like the escape from being slaves or having a snake in your house, it inspires you to get up and do something! Why? Because, you don’t want the snake to get comfortable! You don’t want to remain a slave to poverty and want, but until you get motivated enough to do something about it…nothing will change.

There is no huge bag of money which will fall from the sky. None of these “schemes” will make any difference in your life because 99.9% of them only take your money and give it to someone else! God loves you and even though He won’t drop a talent of gold in your yard, your eternal home sits on a street paved with gold which is more pure than any here on Earth!

Although, many people will read this (at least I hope they will), most will look at what I wrote and say that “I need the money or the blessings now, not in eternity!” God knows exactly how much you need and He can provide it but if you keep going around Him and causing more problems by spending money on things that aren’t useful or trying to “get rich quick”, then He will just sit back and wait until you decide that you can’t do it yourself!

Motivation in life is the fire which gets us out of bed in the morning, the problem is that as we get older that fire tends to become a pile of smoldering ash. This is when we lose hope in the future because we didn’t use our time or our money wisely enough in our youth so that it would be available when the fire grows cold. It is a sobering realization when you are older when you don’t have enough money to pay the bills and you can’t get a job to make up the difference.

How can I give you inspiration in this post when my own life is so out of whack? To be honest, I can’t. Yes, God loves us and He wants the best for us but when we squander our lives and our resources on things which are not eternal then there is nothing which will change in your life today, because yesterday or many yesterdays took everything that you had! Your future in Christ is assured if you belong to Him, so eternity is there to reward you. If you haven’t taken care of that part of your life, then eternity will be very different and it lasts a very long, long time.

Get motivated to do something about your life, either here or in eternity, because today is now and what you do with it will affect tomorrow. What you decide about Jesus and your life as a Christian or not will have an eternal effect on your life as well. Don’t neglect one and sacrifice the other.

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So much suffering…

I am sure that some people are asking “Where is God when this flood began?” or “Where was God when the wildfire burned our town to the ground?”. Yes there is suffering in the world but God didn’t cause it. The flood was caused by a weather system which got stuck in one place and didn’t move. Some of the fires in California were started by a man who knew how to start fires easily. Did either of these events have something in common? Yes, they both caused loss of life and the loss of homes and businesses.

When we see things like this happening we should get on our knees and pray. It is true that God may not send a huge downpour to put the fire out or even stop the rain, but He will be there in your trial to help you get through it. Does this take the edge off of the suffering? No, but if you have put your faith in God, you will have a peace about your situation regardless of how it turns out.

I know that I am making general statements here, but God does care and He loves all of you more than you realize. He will give you the victory and bring more into your life one day than what may be taken away in this world. In some ways that is a really lame way of saying that we should be looking forward to Heaven, but it is true! Our reward for being His today, here on this Earth is that we have His strength and His Spirit in us to give us the peace to get through all of our problems.

It is true that we may be able to get through our day-to-day problems with our own money and our own strength of will and perseverance, but what will happen when one of those is not enough? If you don’t have enough money or you get sick in some way and your strength is not enough to get you through it, what then? Money can’t save you, it may pay the bills but if you die your money is no good anymore. Faith in Jesus and believing in His grace and atonement for your sins will carry you into eternity, where money doesn’t mean anything.

Give your life to Jesus and ask Him to cleanse your heart and your life of all the stuff that shouldn’t be there. Read the Bible and learn about Him, go to a teaching church and walk with others on the same road that you are on. Remember, in a couple of songs there is a “highway to hell” but there is only a “stairway to Heaven”. It kinda shows you the amount of traffic that you will be with if you think about it.

Please, don’t wait to decide something which will have eternal consequences because you may not get another sunrise or even another sunset. Look at your life honestly and like you were making an investment. Will your life as it is now be enough for God to allow you into Heaven? Without Jesus in your heart, your life and your net worth means nothing! God doesn’t take bribes, He can give you a planet made of gold so there is no amount that you could barter with to get in unless you have given your life to Jesus. If you have done that, it won’t matter if you die being the richest man on Earth or the poorest of the beggars, your eternity is rich!

 

Living today and tomorrow

So much is happening in the world today. We see it and hear it on the news and on the radio. We read about it in newspapers and on the Internet. Some of it is true, some of it is blown out of proportion, and some of it is just made up to look like news.

Can we believe it? Some of it but not all.

So, what are your goals for life and living today? Are they similar to other people’s goals of losing weight or getting a degree? Do they have anything to do with making lots of money and building a nice (big) house? When I see goals like this or hear about them and then drive into Flowood or some other town and see these big homes that all look like they are duplicates of each other in size and shape I wonder what is the purpose?

It seems that we like to be individuals and we like to have things which others don’t have, but when it comes to our houses and cars we are stuck with copies of everyone else’s likes. There are no real unique homes or cars. Yes, you can paint the outside of a Camaro a different color from others, your home may have a different floor plan than the one next door. But the shape of the car is the same. The shape of the house is mostly the same.

Everything in our lives, for the most part, is the same. Wouldn’t it be great if we could customize our living space the way we want it to be? I know we are at the mercy of cost and that the companies which sell cars sell the cars which their research tells them that we want. Life is different today than it was, say one hundred years ago. They didn’t have phones, many didn’t have cars, most lived in what we call a shack today. But, I never heard my grandmother say that they didn’t have a roof over their head or food on the table.

Life today is very different from what it was then. Life today is very different from that of just forty or fifty years ago. It seems that we have forgotten how to be kind to one another. We don’t seem to try to help each other when there is a need. Mostly we just sit around and wait for someone else to help, when we have the ability to do it ourselves.

We also spend way too much time reading comments and things from social media sites. Yes, it is fun for a while but it is like sitting in a rocking chair, you are doing something but not going anywhere. Reading those comments is funny and sometimes it is educational but if you don’t get up and do something about those causes that you “like”, nothing will get done!

It is like saying “Amen!” with all the gusto that you can muster, then going out the door of the church and not having a clue what the Preacher said!

God put each one of us here for a purpose and a reason and it doesn’t matter where you live or how much money you have. You can do something for God’s Kingdom. It may be nothing more that offering up a prayer for someone in China or India, but God can use a heartfelt and sincere prayer and do something with it. It is true that there are many who don’t believe in Him and may never believe in Him, but prayer can make a difference in someone’s life. It made a difference in mine.

God loves you and He can work with you and through you to make a difference in someone’s life. A hug or a prayer or even just a note or an email letting them know that you are thinking of them and that you are praying for them in whatever situation they may be in. Seek Him out and thank Him for getting you up this morning and use today for something that Jesus would do if He were here. Then, repeat tomorrow and the next day until He calls you home. I promise that the outcome from small things will have an impact when you see its results in Heaven.

Healing…

There are many times that we all need healing in one form or another. Healing from grief and pain in the loss of a dear friend or loved one. Healing from a disease or an accident. Healing from hurtful words or actions which, possibly a loved one, was said to you or done to you. Healing comes to each of us in many forms.

Which one do you need today?

Jesus can bring a healing spirit into your heart and change it from one that is mistrustful and alone to one that sees the good in people and comforts others when they feel down. Many times we feel that we are the ones who need the healing, but when we offer prayers and comfort to someone else we are the ones who get the most benefit. The love of God, which we bring to others through our prayers, works in both directions. It touches the one that we are praying for but it also flows through us and into us to heal us in ways that we don’t even know that we need.

Healing…is something that Jesus did when He was here and He is still doing it today. Through medicine and doctors and through our diet and exercise, we are healed and helped in ways that we didn’t understand could be done. A little change here, a walk for ten minutes or so, eating less red meat and more fish…these are little changes that we can do which will bring healing to us along with prayer.

Healing of our hearts and our souls, that is the very thing which Jesus can do even when we don’t think it is possible. Sometimes it will happen when we just don’t believe it or even when we don’t want it. God has His purposes and He works in our lives to fulfill His purposes in ways that we can’t imagine. Not that He forces us to do something, but the circumstances of our lives will work for His glory and our good…if we allow it to.

Unfortunately, we are the controllers of that part of our lives. By that I mean that we choose whether we will do this or that for God today or tomorrow, God doesn’t force us to follow His directions. He will allow us to fall and fail in our own attempts at doing what WE think is right and when we realize that it isn’t, then He will pick us up and begin again. Just as the potter at his wheel. The re-making and re-molding process isn’t pleasant, nor is it what we would want to experience most of the time, but in His process and His time we will do His will in our lives.

It may be just before the end of our lives, but it will accomplish that which He deems is necessary and glorious for His Kingdom. It will not show the type of glory that our world expects, but to God even a small coin is worth much more than gold when given with the right attitude.

Living through life…

During our lives we all face heartache and suffering at one time or another. Loved ones don’t live as long as we would like them to and when their time is up, we miss them terribly. If our family ties haven’t been as tight with our parents, or our father or brother or uncles, then if something happens to them it may not hurt quite as badly, but we have missed out on a relationship nonetheless. Can we make sure that missing out on a family relationship doesn’t happen? Not really, which is unfortunate, because individual lives change in ways that we can’t know, especially as children.

I lived through a divorce when my parents went through it when I was five and six years old. They went through custody hearings and child support hearings during at least those years and maybe one more. I don’t remember much about those years except for school and the bickering between them on the phone. A young life shouldn’t be subjected to this, but it happens a lot in our country and in many other countries too.

Why am I bringing this up? Because life happens to all of us and it can be good and it can be not so good. The best part about my life, even with the stuff which happened early, was that my grandparents and my Mom were Christians and going to church helped a lot. My mother sang hymns at home and in the car sometimes, so I was exposed to her faith and the faith of my grandparents during a time when I truly needed it.

Life can be tough when you don’t have something to believe in which gives you strength, even though as a young person I didn’t understand the faith that they had or the Bible and the stories in it. I didn’t come to truly get religion and come to Christ until after my son was born. Why did I wait so long? Because I didn’t think that I needed Jesus or rather I thought that I already had Him, but I found out that I didn’t.

Going through the motions of attending church and reading some Scripture and singing hymns makes you “feel” religious, but being religious and being a Christian are very different things entirely. Seek Him out while you have time, today, because you and I are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Tell me how he lived….

We each know someone who was an inspiration to us while they lived and in the way they lived, yet somehow when they are gone there are times that we can’t remember. Some remember the good times, some remember the not-so-good times, some remember the smile or the laughter or the way they held their cigarette if they smoked. Many things about those who are important to us, while they still live, they don’t seem so important. But, when we can’t call them or go see them…each little bit is precious…at least to those who loved them. Who will remember how you lived or what you said? Think about your life now and the impact that it will have on those around you…while you live, because once you are gone the imprint and influence that you had in this life will live on.

It is important to remember and never forget the things that we loved about a person that we can’t see anymore, so make your memories good while you can.

Hopelessness, fear, frustration, anger….

All of us have felt these before, in one form or another. Some people feel them more powerfully because of their situation in life or where they live. Sometimes the reason for these feelings is something that we have been addicted to or something that we are addicted to. The main reason that I am writing this is to bring our realization of their existence into the open and show it for what it is…each of these is caused by and brought on by spirits who serve Satan and his demons. We have to live on this Earth for a time and this plane of existence is the same realm that he has as his kingdom for a time. He knows that this time is growing shorter, especially now, and the violence and mayhem that are all over the world is the evidence of his frustration and anger, not so much at God but directed at us because we are each made in the likeness of God.

God considers us as His children, whether we have claimed that as our own existence and future by accepting Jesus as our Savior or not. We are His creation and He knows which of us will accept the gift of grace that is offered and which of us will not accept it. We are not forced to accept it because you cannot force a person to love you and accept a gift from you! The lives that we lead today and every day are ones that we decide which side of the aisle we will sit on. We might sit on the side with Satan and lead a life that we do whatever we feel like doing and damn the consequences, or we may choose to realize that our life would be better if we served Jesus and asked Him to give us the strength to get through our pain. What pain you may ask? When you leave the side of your “friends” who had helped you get into the sins that you find yourself in, you will feel pain of separation and fear, you will also feel like you have let them down by not going with them.

The places and things that you were doing before Jesus came into your life are still going to tempt you, as will your friends, but with time and strength from Him you can overcome those feelings and the temptation to do what they are doing and go where they go. Yes, you will fail to stop saying things that a child of God shouldn’t say. Yes, you will stumble and go back but that doesn’t mean that you have lost anything, it just means that you need to get deeper into God’s Word and prayer every day! As we all need to do, we need to draw closer to Him by reading and studying His Word. We are loved by the Creator, what better reason do you need to come close to God?

All of your fear, frustration and hopelessness will go away when you become His child and draw near to Him. It may not happen immediately, but as you get closer to Him and He draws closer to you, those feelings will lessen and go away eventually.

How much will you give up?

We see the results of greed and avarice in life every day. Looking at those who flaunt it from Hollywood, it makes me sick. Look at the people on the different lists, such as Forbes 400 or some such list. The one question that I would like to ask all of them is this: “Are you happy?”

In truth, many of them are not. They worry about their money or their career or their investments or about whether they will win an Oscar or get on the list next year. I know that in their life and the career that many of them have chosen, these worries are legitimate concerns and I don’t begrudge them for any of that. But, have you slowed down your life enough to look around and see normal people and how they live?

Have you even considered a simpler life? One without all of the “stuff” that your house or your car or even your closet is full of now? I don’t mean giving away everything, because many of us won’t or couldn’t do that, but just cut back on the amount that you have. I mean, I know some of you collect cars but what can you do with fifty or one hundred cars other than dust them off and run their engines once or twice a year?

I think Thodo-better-life-quotes-on-simple-white-paper-with-yellow-frame-most-positive-quote-about-life-and-successreau had the best idea when he went into the woods for a few years alone and just lived simply. He certainly found out a lot about himself and what he could do without, and I think many of us need to do that too. Whether we will do it or even if we can do it is another thing altogether! This is one of those ideas that sounds good on paper, but when you think about it seriously most of the time it turns out to be hard to do.

Our lives should be simpler, easier to deal with on a daily basis but the times that we live in are not so easy to simplify. So, I ask you: What would you be willing to give up?

Many people would want to know what will they get in return for giving up something regardless of what they give up, so to that I would say: whatever you seek. In relation to that answer, I don’t mean to imply that giving up something will get you something else in this life, particularly if you are seeking after riches or other “stuff” that the world recognizes as rewards for doing something.  What I am speaking of is seeking after the Creator, which is what our soul…our spirit feels empty without that relationship.

This is the very reason that many people are constantly searching for happiness in life or wealth or fame or alcohol and drugs. We feel empty without God in our lives, but until we know Who we are searching for we don’t have a clue regarding where to look or what to look for, let alone Who to seek out. When you do finally get to the point of knowing that you can’t fill that place with anything that you do, many of us feel the need to cry out “Where are You?” or “What will fill me with Peace?”. Sometimes we find Him waiting patiently for us, but sometimes we are misled by Satan to follow a path which leads in the opposite direction.

It depends upon your ability to hear Him or your willingness to hear His voice. Why do I put it this way? Because God is not loud and boisterous like the ruler of this world is. We may notice a feeling or a pull toward looking for God in the Bible or at a church, but a friend or an event will scream loudly in your desirous heart for you to do or go somewhere else. It says, “Step of this path and follow me, it won’t be but just this once”, but eventually your steps will lead you so far away until you will feel like God won’t take me now.

Yes, He will. God used Moses who murdered an Egyptian, He used David who committed adultery and murder, He used Samson who ignored his Nazarite vows and did as he pleased until he was a slave to those that he was supposed to protect Israel from. God used a man by the name of Saul, a Pharisee who was zealous for getting rid of the people who followed the “Way”, and he ended up writing half of the New Testament! Yes, God can use you and your talent for His Kingdom and His purposes and it doesn’t matter what you have done in the past.

Give your heart and your life to Jesus and the rest of your life will be useful to Him. Forget about your past failures or your failings and get on with living for God. Even if your life ends sooner than you think, if someone sees your Christian walk while you are living then your life, however short, will not have been useless to Him.

What do you consider success?

For many people it is just bringing home a paycheck on payday and being able to pay the bills and put food on the table. This is what it is for many people in America and other nations around the world, no matter how much the check might be for. Success is different for many people. For some it is fame in the form of fans on YouTube today or even a part in a movie from Hollywood. For others it may be getting a job as a lawyer or accountant in a large firm and making a six figure salary. Still others may look at success as having your own business and doing a good job at what you do, regardless of the pay from your efforts.

There are many forms of success in life but the one that many people seem to forget about is whether they are prepared for eternity or not. Most of us are brought up and taught in schools that life begins when you are born and ends when you die, everything in between those two is a struggle of some kind or another. In some ways, this view of life is correct because life is a struggle although it isn’t the kind that we are taught in school. Our struggle is a spiritual one for our very soul, because our spirit and soul does carry on after our body dies. That is the destination, the end point that we are all going to come to realize is just the beginning of life and not an end.

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If you look at this line very closely on a monitor, you will see that it is composed of hundreds or thousands of dots. Many people think that this line represents their life, but in reality only one of those dots is your life on Earth! The rest of them, on into infinity, are your eternity. Sobering thought isn’t it? Your success for real Life shouldn’t be bound up in just one dot, but it should look to the Savior Who can give you a real Life into Eternity. Even though it is true that your soul and spirit carry on even if you don’t accept Jesus’ gift of eternity and Life everlasting, it will be your true “second death”. Because you will be separated from God!

Your goodness on Earth is nothing, even if you were the most philanthropic person and gave away your fortune to the poor and you never lied or stole from anyone, you never committed adultery and you never hated anyone or killed anyone, and you honored your parents and took care of them. None of this counts at all toward your eternal life unless you have given your heart and your life to Jesus Christ! God loves each of us with a love beyond anything that we can imagine, but if we don’t accept His gift of Love through Jesus as the atonement for our sinful lives, then our life on Earth has not meant anything in God’s Kingdom.

How can you protect yourself from evil?

In Ephesians 6: 10-15 it says: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God,so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

I know this is a blog about successful living but in today’s climate of evil and all other forms of unrighteousness, we need the armor of God to help in whatever endeavor we are in. In some business operations this might seem to be out-of-place, but if you want your business to truly be successful, you need to have God as your partner! If you don’t, then the other side will come into your business in some way and cause it to prosper but it will be unrighteous success.

You can steal money, get away with it and use it for good things but Satan has his hands in it so eventually it will come to light and you will lose all of your success and the things which the world can see will be taken as well. If you truly are a Christian business person, you always want the business principles of God to keep your business on the right track. Christianity and business go together because, the way to have a successful business…one that is respected by others for the way that you DO business.

Doing business with the principles of God is the best way, the most effective way of having a successful business in this world and the best way for this to happen is to donate at least ten percent of your income to God. Does He need it? No, God owns all in the universe. He wants you to acknowledge His portion and give it willingly to a ministry or church or an organization that is truly Christian in its operation so that it will accomplish something for His Kingdom.

Your life and your business will reflect your Christianity or your unbelief, some people will not notice but some will. Your righteousness was given to you when you became a Christian but the rest of you hasn’t got it until you read the Word and take it into your heart, and into your spirit and that way the rest of you can experience the righteousness of God in all areas of your life and your business!