Joy: Buried Treasure

It was the night of bright lights and bling. New Years Eve – everywhere we looked there was glitter and sparkle and shine. Every particle of air held excitement and ice melted from sheer energy. There were smiles and hugs and the air was electric with celebration! No matter if 2016 was a good year to hang onto with tenacious enthusiasm or one that we couldn’t wait to vanish into history, the beginning of a new year sparks hope. Parties and celebrations ignite happiness and flame the atmosphere with joy.  

I wonder though, what happens now when the lights have gone out, the fireworks are over, the confetti has fallen to the ground in dusty clumps and the glitter is washed down the drain. Is that the end of happiness? Is that it for joy? It is, if joy is dependent on our circumstances.

I’ve been thinking.  Special events bring excitement into our lives; they’re blessings and we treasure those moments when our hearts feel happy. But the moments don’t last and as they fade, so does the feeling we confuse with joy. Joy is heaven-made. It’s part of our spiritual DNA. “The humble will be filled with fresh JOY from the Lord. Isaiah 29:19 [NLT] Doesn’t that sound like our joy comes from God and not from ourselves or any other source?

Happiness is homemade. It’s part of our human experience. Many years ago I read one of those sayings on the side of a coffee mug that said, “If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.” That’s a pretty good description of life, isn’t it? We’re on our journey for a while taking the scenic tour, a few curves a few hills – we’re comfortable, we’re happy. But then life gets really tough and the pleasant journey becomes a dangerous expedition. Thrown off our path we’re driven into the deep end of the ocean or feel like we’re hanging by our fingernails on the side of a cliff. Not our happiest moments, are they? There is no bling, there is no glitter, the light is gone. The last thing we feel capable of is being happy.

How often do we say it? “But Lord, I’m not happy. I’m tired of trying so hard to get through this. And Lord, in case you haven’t noticed, this ‘thing’ is getting me down. Somedays I feel so sad I don’t want to move.” Do you remember Psalm 23:1? The Lord is my shepherd … This isn’t a verse tucked into the Bible so we could envision a calm, serene flowing brook surrounded by wild flowers. Shepherds worked hard, trudged through brambles and mud to keep track of their sheep. And they protected every single sheep from any harm that threatened them. “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” Do you trust your shepherd? you-make-known-to-me-the-path-of-life

Jesus reminds us that nothing can take our joy away from us because he is the source of our joy. Nehemiah 8:10 says “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Our circumstances may make us sad, they may exhaust us, we might feel like we’ve been plunged into darkness but it’s in our darkest days that the tiniest light appears brightest. The light of the world is Jesus (John 8:12); it’s he who is the source of our joy. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; as I walk with You the pleasures are never-ending and I know true JOY and contentment.”

We have to look for joy, like excavating for buried treasure because that’s what it is. Joy is a gift we choose to open over and over.  Joy is our light even when the bling of the world is gone. Look for the joy because it won’t come find us.

To choose joy means we choose God, we choose to fill our minds and fill our hearts with his words. Matthew 12:34 describes it so clearly. “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Joy might not be a natural response to a broken spirit when days seem dark, but if you are God’s child, you already have unlimited, renewable joy. Nahum 1:7-8 tell us that God comforts his troubled children who put their trust in him. “The Lord is good. He protects those who trust him in times of trouble. But like a roaring flood the Lord chases his enemies into dark places and destroys them.” That’s God. He protects, and destroys the enemy that tries to steal your joy.

Lord, your word says you’ve given me an unlimited supply of renewable joy, but I’m having a hard time finding it. Please be a light on my pathway to peace and joy. Flood my heart with so much joy here is no room for darkness. God, I ask you to change my circumstances, Lord. But if you choose to grow my character through them, then please change me. Change my attitude, change my heart, change my life. Make me a faithful steward of your gift of joy. Amen

And quitting will accomplish what? Nothing! That’s what quitting accomplishes.

Have you ever questioned what you’re doing? OK you can stop laughing now. Of course you have, we all have at some point asked ourselves, “Why am I doing this?” or “Do I want to do this?” or let’s be fair here. Haven’t we all asked, “What was I thinking when I agreed to do this?” It’s in these moments of doubt that searching begins. If we don’t search, we won’t find and if we don’t ask, we’ll never know.

A few weeks ago, someone asked me how long it takes to write my blog. Too long, in minutes, but who’s counting? That’s the best answer I can muster because when I started my blog it took an average 45 minutes. Think, write, post, done! I still follow that same procedure but now it takes 3 times that long. Maybe I should quit. Here’s how God answered when I told him “Maybe I should quit.”20150121_065250-1

I was looking for a postage stamp when this card, which I didn’t know existed, fell out of the drawer.

Yesterday, for the first time, there were some pretty scathing comments on my post in Google. In Facebook you ‘like’ a post, the equivalent in Google is a +1.  Mercifully Google hid the worst, but one of the derogatory comments was “man this was hard to read… BABBLE. ignorant, babble” and it collected 6 +1s! To top it all off, the actual post got zero. Maybe I should quit.

I remembered a little story I heard way back when I was too young to grasp the meaning. A preacher was in the middle of sermon when a few people got up and left. Instead of wondering what he said that offended them, he thanked God that his message convicted them. I still remember thinking there could have been any number of reasons why people left a service. Yesterday, some readers with their own filters read something I wrote, and it offended them. The Lord showed me His word in Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived. God will not be made a fool. For a person will reap what he sows, because the person who sows to his own flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit.

If you read my posts, you know I write only encouraging words. I use scripture, the Bible, to support what I say. If that offends you, I’m pretty sure you can find other places to expend your energy and use your time. I know my inbox receives at least 80 emails every day – all with something to read, and if’ that’s not enough, the Internet can fill up 1,000 days with any topic I want to read.

If you want to be encouraged in your daily life, stick around. I’m not quitting just because it takes me too long to think, write, and post. I’m not going to quit because convicted people invite me to join them in hell. When I accept Jesus, when I made God Lord of my life, when I turned my faith toward true north, God gives me light. When you give a gift, the recipient can do whatever they wish with it. God gave me the gift of encouragement before I was even born. I could keep it all to myself and let it get tarnished and useless – or I can share it – even with people who don’t want it. I want to be like John. “John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.” John 5:35

Last night as I was contemplating “Why am I doing this?” I realized that the enemy of my soul is trying to feed me garbage. It’s neither healthy nor desirable. Maybe I should quit. I am going to quit – quit doubting and start believing God. God will not bring you to it, then not bring you through it. Maybe I should quit doubting.  What are you not going to quit?

Well that didn’t work! What was I thinking? Planning so that doesn’t happen.

Have you heard the latest? We are already two days into the New Year and some of us are still thinking through what we plan to accomplish in 2015. I said some of us. If you are one of those other ones who has their list written, posted, and are already in hot pursuit of making it happen – I’m proud of you. You probably don’t need to read the rest of this saga on dreaming dreams, planning plans, and somehow merging the two to create a vision for this year and maybe even beyond.

A few years ago someone handed me a page of notes from a meeting they had attended. “Here, she said. I have no use for this, but I thought of you. You’re the information junkie.” She was right, of course. The handout from the meeting described setting goals that are SMART. I’m not the master goal setter, but I can read a prescription. I also know that there is no chance for hitting a target if I don’t aim, and no chance to achieve a goal if I don’t set one. So here’s my take on S.M.A.R.T. goals. Let me know what you think.Scheduling A Meeting In A Diary

S          Specific: This sounds pretty easy. Right? To be specific means knowing exactly what you want as a result of your effort. Get a job. Read more books. Eat better. Stay warm. Not very specific are they? Well, maybe the stay warm one. To be specific what kind of job do you really want? Do you have your heart set on a certain company? Eat better could mean a lot of things, but to be specific, choose an eating plan, write a menu, and maybe keep track for a while till you see progress. Read more books is one of my goals. I have titles of books on my list that I will read and places to add more once I have read all of them. This might surprise you, but one of the books on my list is 1100 Words You Need to Know. Any guesses on why that’s on my list? Just curious.

Something to think about.  Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

 M         Measurable: This is seriously a tough one for me. Numbers are not my thing, but how hard can it be to add a few digits to a goal to make it a ‘valid’ goal? (at least according to the SMART rule) Let’s use my goal of reading more books. My brother-in-law set a goal to read 1 book for every year of his age plus 1 every year. I’m no mathematics genius, but even I can figure out that he is reading two additional books every year. My goal is not that admirable. First, I will read one book every 2 weeks. That’s a goal, but some goals should be stretch goals, so along with that goal, I have committed to writing a book review every two weeks. Feel free to challenge me in a few weeks to see how I’m doing.

Something to think about.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33

A          Achievable: Ten years ago, one of my goals was to run 3 times a week for not less than one hour. That was a good goal for me at the time, but if I were to temper that goal for what is achievable today it would look vastly different. Walking for an hour, three times a week is an achievable goal. Let’s talk about my book goal. I don’t have 24 books listed because the year is young and I don’t know every single book I will read. However, I have ‘write-in’ space to decide later. Twenty-four books in one year is achievable.

Something to think about.  Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. –
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

R          Realistic: With enough coffee, I can rule the world. Probably not going to happen. That would not be realistic. file9091310183759That goal would not even be sane. Who would want to rule the world even with the best dark roast coffee in the world? Realistic goals require that you do some deep soul searching and decide what you really want. See that root word ‘Real’ly want? One way to test it out is to invest time in mapping it out step by step. If you can’t do that, maybe a different goal would be better.

Something to think about.  Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ – Matthew 4:10

T          Time: Even though we all talk about goals for the year, don’t get all caught up in that notion of time begins on January 1 and ends on January 31. Remember I said I’m not the master goal setter? I’ll let you in on a little secret. You can set a goal anytime. If you’re driving down the road and think of something you really (really) want to do, you can decide right then to make it happen. A strong word of advice here…please wait till you get home to map it all out, or at least pull into a parking lot somewhere. It would not be at all SMART to write and drive.

Something to think about.  Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. – Psalm 145:2

           For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end. – Psalm 48:14

Artist paint and brushesReady team? What are your goals? Sometimes just getting through a day is a good goal, but as soon as you can, write out some things you want to see in your life? Maybe in one week or one month. If you’re brave, go ahead. Envision your life months down the road or a year down the road. What does it look like? Paint me a picture. Let’s get out there.

 

 

Seriously? You’re going to live by OneWord? as in All Year?

Well it’s here, the moment we’ve been waiting for. The anticipating the planning … the clock struck 12 and 2015 was born. Welcome. Welcome to the New Year everybody!

Do you make resolutions? Or maybe you set S.M.A.R.T. goals. You know. The goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Limited. Some of you, like me, have adopted one word to live by every day, all year long. I’ve been using the #MyOneWord philosophy since 2011, and so far I have used up #Faith, #Integrity, #Discernment, and this year I am putting #Peace to the test. As much as I would love to have world peace, this word PEACE at a personal level is more life changing than world peace.

Tomorrow, or in my next blog, whenever that occurs, I’m going to talk about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, but today let’s talk about this one word peace and why I chose it as #MyOneWord. By the way, I didn’t think up the one word. It originated, I believe, in a church in North Carolina. I have the story tucked away somewhere and will share it with you, if you ask. For now, thought, let’s talk about having PEACE every day.

  • P          Prayer becomes the bookends of my day. Begin with prayer and end with prayer. There’s a lot of prayer in between too. You’ve heard that “7 days without prayer, makes one weak?” Well, 7 hours without prayer makes me vulnerable. There’s a little verse in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 that simply says “Pray continually.” That’s pretty clear all on its own, but that little command is surrounded by verse 16 “Rejoice always” and verses 18 to 24. “Give thanks in all circumstances … Do not quench the spirit … May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you … The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” Bookends of Prayer

 

  • E          Exercise to take care of my physical body. This is a good rule and everybody knows the importance of physical exercise. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says my body is a temple of God. It doesn’t belong to me.  I’m not an athlete and marathons are not even a distant aspiration, but every day, somewhere in those 24 hours, I need to get off the couch or out of my chair and exert some energy that’s more than finger exercises on a keyboard. Even more important than physical exercise is spiritual exercise. 1 Timothy 4:8 “Physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come

 

  • A          Accountability is a struggle for me. Maybe it is for you too. This is just my opinion, but I think this is the reason why New Year’s Resolutions fail. We know what we want to do, what we should do, so we make ourselves a promise that “I will …. Or I won’t” but then our resolve fails us and we weasel out of accountability. Accountability means I pray about my goals, adjust my plans to God’s purpose, then work the plan to achieve those goals. You know, God says I don’t have to do this alone. I can seek help from another believer to keep me on course and you can too. Look what God says in Hebrews 10:24-25 “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, encouraging one another—“

 

  • C          Character is who I am. I remember hearing a motivational speaker one time say “Your character is what you do when you think nobody is watching.” That about sums it up. God wants me to never let down my guard and give into acts of poor character. This includes the friends I choose and the associations I have. This is not my idea, it’s found here in 1Corinthians 15:33. Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” My character needs work every day to enhance my inner life with God’s character so my outer life reflects it. Proverbs 27:19 says “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” Nobody wants to suffer, it breaks my heart when I know someone is suffering, but that’s why we have to remember that there is a reason for it. Putting it into perspective of Romans 5:3-5 doesn’t make it easier, but suffering is not without purpose. “We glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

 

  • E          Encourage. Finally something that comes easy for me. Whether you call it encouragement or kindness or reassurance or inspiring, this final letter E – in my one word, PEACE, God made it easy for me. At birth, God gave me the gift of encouragement. I can take no credit for what comes naturally to me. But with a gift, no matter what it is or the source it came from, a gift is nothing if it’s not used. My gift will grow weak and worthless if I don’t use it. This verse in Romans 14:19 pretty much sums up my responsibility. “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.”

Yesterday, I read a lot of year-end posts of bloggers. Most of them knew which of their posts had the most views, which ones had sparked comments, and how many readers, from which countries, had read their blog. They had these amazing statistics and I realized that I had not seen one statistic from my blog. That was an eye opener for me. My sole purpose in blogging is to encourage others. If I encourage one person or, as one blogger’s stats revealed, 290,000 readers, the numbers are immaterial. God says in 1 Timothy 4:14 that I am not to neglect the spiritual gift I have been given. My blog is one method I use to live a life of peace and bring encouragement to others. I’ll let God keep track of my stats.

An appropriate musical presentation by Michael W. Smith – looking for a reason to find a place in this world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpXMnY_t03M

 

 

 

For less to do, use shorter paper.

OK everybody up! Rise and shine! Good Morning YAY! WE made it to Friday! What cool things will you do today to prepare for your weekend? How do you get from here to the weekend;012514_1520_ThatNewCarS1.jpg what’s in your plan?  At work, at home, at play – well, first things first.  First we have to get up, get motivated, get the armor on, get COFFEE, and get out there. Up Up UP – we can do this.

If you’ve forgot, the first thing, it’s not too late.  Pray! Whatever is on that things-to-get-done-today list, invite God into your day. Sometimes, even after I invite God into my day, I look behind, around and above – you know.  Just to make sure He’s paying attention. Of course he’s there and look what he says in Hebrews 12:1, 2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”  I am reminded that we all live by faith, every moment because this moment is what we have.

When I look at what’s ahead for my day, I think I’ve discovered the solution. Shorter paper.  If the paper was shorter, like the size of a 3 x 5 card, I couldn’t fit so much on it. Right? I’m looking at a joy jar right now.  Every day I write a blessing or something I am thankful for, then I add a written prayer and throw into my antique jar.   I’m also a list maker and use a notebook or 3X5 cards to help me focus on what I want to get done that day. You might do this too.  JP Morgan, way back in the days when everything was in black and white used 3X5 cards to set daily goals. Instead of a full page of things to do, that grew longer and more discouraging, he wrote three things each day on one index card that he was going to accomplish that day.  There was a point when someone asked him how many cards he had used up to that particular day and it was over 5,000 cards at that time.

While index cards are good for their purposes, I’m in love with lists and still write them out with great enthusiasm.  Everyday at the top of my list, I will have Deuteronomy 6: 5 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength”. After that? Whatever else is priority for the day.  We have this moment.  We live by faith. We set our priorities on things we hope will make a difference right where we are.  Even the mundane task of doing the laundry, washing the car, g-r-o-c-e-r-y s-h-o-p-p-i-n-g – we are doing, because those things make a difference.  What else can we do to make a difference? What is one thing we can do today to move us toward our purpose? Maybe some days you just need to be good to yourself  because you feel like you’ve been wrung out and hung up to dry. Is there something that would bring joy to you and someone else too? Sometimes, most times, we have to make an attempt to manufacture joy.  It takes effort, maybe more effort than we think we have to show someone a special kindness, but it will be worth it to carry through.

Remember that armor we put on at the beginning of the day. Now try on some faith to go with it.  Hebrews 11:6And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to himmust believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

Here’s a formula that can’t miss – God / Family / Work in that order.  At the top of the list, at the beginning of the day, write it on your heart, indelibly like writing on an index card, to put God first. It’s not easy to get into the habit of prioritizing around the One whose power we rely on just to get through the day, through the week, through everything.  How mixed up we become when we walk through the maze. The amazing maze – we don’t walk it alone. Somehow I stumbled, and that’s the right word for it stumbled across this verse in Joshua 23:14 “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. Good reminder for whatever happens today – no matter what, no matter where, God has promised to be there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaj6P_7bpGw&feature=endscreen&NR=1   Wouldn’t a glue sky be perfect?  Treat yourself to joy today.  Let’s get out there!

F.A.I.T.H.

When you woke up this morning, what was the first thing on your mind? I mean besides hearing the squelch and sizzle of steaming hot water through coffee. Before I opened my eyes today my mind was searching for that word I chose to build my life around for the next 364 days. Yes! I found it!  My #oneword365 is DISCERNMENT.  Reality check! To strengthen muscles and tendons, requires more than obsessive thought. It takes exercise, practice, and nutrition bundled with lots of planning and thought.  To build strength and stamina in discernment requires more than obsessively cycling that one word through my mind day after day.  I’ll need to exercise other words like hope, integrity, wisdom, peace, encouragement and faith for discernment to penetrate the fabric of 2014.

This is early in the game – it’s only day 3 of January. What happens if I have discouragements, irritations, and challenges that strip my word ‘discernment’ from memory?  There will be times like that. We will all experience defeating circumstances, but in those times remember: Those thoughts are from the enemy of our souls and he is very adept at substituting productive thoughts with debilitating fears.  In those times remember this tiny verse in Ephesians 4:27 ” do not give the devil a foothold.”  This can only mean that once we realize that we are in a cycle of defeat, we have to be wise, quickly leaning in to the promises of God to reclaim hope, peace, and be encouraged through faith.

Many of us are going though a rough patch and facing difficult situations.  Let’s encourage each other through these challenges; examine our attitude toward faith; be strengthened from the root through nourishment of scripture.  When we get the inside right, the outside will take care of itself. Right? F-A-I-T-H

F         Forever – Wavering is part of our nature.  Nothing is perfect, bad things happen and we get discouraged, but life is a huge mixing bowl with an overload of good mingled in there too.  Through every situation and every decision, we have the ultimate guide.  Psalm 48:14 God is our God forever and ever; He will guide us to the end.

A         Adversity – Someone said “That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.” When we go through adversity, we will become stronger if we learn from it. Athletes know the muscle pain of overexertion. Little tears in the muscle occur but healing makes it stronger. When we struggle through adversity, what can we learn that makes us stronger? It could be a learning a new skill, discovering a solution to a problem that’s laid dormant for a long time, or maybe it’s simply finding a new coping mechanism. I like the Message interpretation of Proverbs 18:14 & 15 A healthy spirit conquers adversity, but what can you do when the spirit is crushed? Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.

I          Impossible – I love the word ‘impossible’. There is nothing quite so motivating as proving wrong the impression that an act or a goal is impossible. I’m sure I developed that attitude at the age of 11 when I first watched the movie Cinderella. There was a song that proclaimed very emphatically that impossible things happened every day.  And don’t they? If God is in it, the impossible becomes the Possible.  Another verse from the Message Ezekiel 36:27 I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.

T         Timing – How many times have I argued with God about his timing. “God, look at me here.  Time is nothing to you, but it’s everything to me . . . ” Does that sound at all familiar?  But God reminds me that it is he who is in control, he sees the tapestry in all its intricate detail where all I see is one tangled mess of threads.  Psalm 18:20-24 GOD made my life complete … he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to GOD’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works …  GOD rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

H        History – Reviewing my past proves over and over again that God is faithful.  He has been my comforter, my cheerleader, my sustainer, my helper, and my guide. I make mistakes.  Every day, I can count on me to blunder at something. There might be painful consequences from some of those mistakes, but somehow I move on; by some miracle I find my way back to the right track. All I am and all I hope to be are made possible by the creator and sustainer of all things. 1 Chronicles 29:10-13  Everything in heaven, everything on earth is God’s!  Riches and glory come from him and he is ruler over all; God holds strength and power in the palm of his hand to build up and strengthen all. And here we are, giving thanks to God because of how he always was and who he always will be. God never changes. He is God.

What have we learned about F-A-I-T-H today? This simple fact. We need faith in the God who never changes because the path of life is ever changing. We need to look toward the light of the world who shines his light on our path so we can first find it, then stay on it.  John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNBWv33-QI

Encourage

OK everybody up! Rise and shine! Good Morning!

Have you ever thought about our English language and wondered why we have so many words that mean the same thing but sometimes aren’t used interchangeably? Have you seen a thesaurus? OK – so maybe I’m the only one who wakes up in the morning wondering about the difference between encouragement and inspiration. What got me started on that? Someone wrote to me yesterday, “I’ve noticed you are an encourager. Does anyone encourage you?” Earlier in the day, I got an invitation to meet two friends who are very dear to me and who have been an inspiration to me. There was a point at work where I had an opportunity to cheer someone on through a frustrating issue. Later a friend sent me an instant message with words that encouraged me. My dear sister-in-law, Jennie, commented on my blog to encourage me; a friend I’ve never met sent me a beautiful message through LinkedIn, and another friend, Lisa, sent me an inspiring note. Does anyone encourage me? What do you think? Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes. Corinthians 13:11 says “Encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” Am I inspired? Of course!

Dictionary.com says encourage means to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence. Sometimes we don’t feel like encouraging, we are just plain weary, or we’re out of ideas. Have we ever heard of re-cycling? It’s totally legal and highly recommended. It’s OK to recycle a sincere compliment, a random act of kindness, a hug, a smile, a written sentiment – what inspires you? Recycle it for someone else and encourage them. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Practice …. Philippians 4:9 “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me [Paul], or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Remember what Vince Lombardi said, “Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” What can we do to spread encouragement and inspire each other today? Think about it … then act it out. Practice. Hebrews 3:13 “Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’….” If we get the inside right, the outside will take care of itself. It doesn’t matter if we encourage or inspire ….as long as we act!

Ready? Let’s get out there while it’s still ‘today’.